Many of you know I am an interior designer, but I am also on a mission to help busy moms like myself, and you find calm and balance in our lives.  That means taking a look at all the aspects of our lives and figuring out how we can improve them!

The kitchen is my favorite room to design in the house.  It is the room that takes the most amount of effort to design, not only because it has so many elements, but because so many different things going on in a kitchen.  In an effort to find balance in not only our kitchens but our daily lives- we are going to talk about meal planning.  If you already do this- great- then you are one step ahead.  Maybe you will find some ways to spice up your meal plans today- if you don’t do this yet- what is your reason? I’ve heard it takes too long, I don’t know where to start, it’s overwhelming- Like anything else, change and new things are hard! But usually well worth the effort!

Here are 10 meal planning hacks- because let’s be honest we are busy, and anything that has been hacked has got to be worth taking a look at!

10 Meal planning HACKS

  1. Be realistic – if you get sick of meals quickly don’t cook an entire chicken and then have to eat it or feel bad not. Plan accordingly for what you know. Two nights of chicken is probably enough.
  2. Plan some time to prep. This is key.  Having things like grains and sauces ready to be able to be used with different proteins will make all your meals easier and feel less like leftovers.
  3. Cook extra proteins and freeze them. You can thaw them easily when you want but again pressure is off to eat right away.
  4. Use your standbys and favorites often in the rotation. You know them, love them, and probably already have the ingredients in the house.  Don’t try 5 new meals in one week. You’ll end up cursing meal planning.
  5. If you want/need to save time, but pre-chopped produce. This will cost more but can save a ton of time.
  6. Don’t underestimate soup. Find one everyone will eat and try serving it a different way, maybe in bread bowls, then freeze the rest.  Label it so you don’t forget you have it!
  7. Invest in the right containers. I myself love mason jars.  I got rid of most of my plastic last year and it’s been great.  The jars store nicely in the drawers and the refrigerator, but I do keep a few larger plastic containers for freezing.  It may also be a good time to clean out the storage cabinet and purge.
  8. Find some sauces and dressings you love and spend time giving them some love. Do not settle for bland- you’ll immediately hate meal planning if you don’t.  Homemade pesto and chimichurri are my favs!
  9. Plan and execute multiple meals at once, and get those extra hands helping. Also, make sure you label with what it is, date made, and cooking directions. You think you’ll remember but trust me, you won’t.
  10. Talk to other meal planning people! Ask friends, coworkers, or jump online. Tons of resources, ideas, and support!

I hope these hacks help you find balance in the kitchen and get you excited about meal planning.  Leave me a comment and let me know. Happy meal planning!