Y'all, this is the fun part of meal planning – picking out the actual meals! You’ve taken the time to put together your general plan and now it’s time to plug and chug with some killer recipes. So grab your meal planning calendar (snag your FREE calendar here) and your cookbooks, pull up your Pinterest boards and websites! Let’s have fun finding recipes!
Picking out recipes for the week ahead is fun, but it can be overwhelming – so many choices, so many ingredients, so many steps. Don’t worry! Here are some tips I find to be helpful in picking out recipes:
1. Plan for a couple of theme nights like Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Pizza Friday, Slow Cooker Sunday. Having a theme night allows you to look for specific types of recipes instead of filtering through the masses.
2. Plan only 1-2 new recipes a week. Let’s be real, cooking a new recipe is fun, but it can also be stressful especially if you have small humans. So minimize your stress and play around just a few times a week or make a new main dish one night and a new side dish another. PRO TIP – your family will be more open to trying the new thing if you pair it with something they already know and like.
3. Create a “Best Of” binder. Did your family love a recipe you tried earlier in the week? Print it out or make a copy of it and put it in your Best Of binder. As you try more new-to-you recipes, and get positive feedback, add them to your binder! Within a few weeks, you will have a killer resource of recipes that you can rotate through or fall back on in a pinch.
4. Make snack plates or ingredient meals. Use what you have, even if it doesn’t generally “fit” together. One of our favorite meals is roasted salmon with whatever veggie we have on hand and some fruit. Another family favorite is sliced veggies, hummus, crackers, and grilled chicken. Easy prep, minimal dishes, and a change of pace for dinner means everyone wins!
5. Brinner or breakfast for dinner. There is nothing else to say except Amaze-balls.
If you’re saying to yourself, this is all fine and dandy, but where do I actually find new recipes to try? Here are a few go-to websites I use for meal planning. I have not partnered with any of these websites (life goals) – they are just sites I have grown to love in my own meal planning journey.
1. www.defineddish.com -This was one of my absolute favorite cookbooks and websites to use during my Whole30
2. www.paleorunningmomma.com -I love how you can filter her recipes based on your eating style, holidays, and course
3. www.skinnytaste.com - she has some ultra yummy crockpot and instant pot recipes
4. www.damndelicious.net - She has fun recipes using simple ingredients that are easy to prepare
Pinterest is another great resource – it’s like google with pretty pictures. But you may have to dig a little more to ensure the pretty picture has substance (or in this case a recipe) behind it. Some key words I find to be successful when searching Pinterest are:
· Healthy dinner ideas
· Clean eating recipes
· 5 ingredient recipes
· Easy healthy dinner
Now that you have learned a few tips on how to find actual recipes, you can feel confident starting your own meal planning journey!
Believe it or not, you’ve always been an expert meal planner - you’re an expert in your food likes and dislikes and your family life or schedule. Now what’s exciting is that you can pair your expertise with the information and tools you have received from this series of posts to make the process of planning, shopping, and cooking meals more budget-friendly, efficient, and healthy.
In my next post, I’ll be sharing ways you can meal prep as part of your meal planning process to make your week run even smoother.