Meal Planning to Simplify the Busy Back to School Season

When you plan your meals it will help to simplify the hectic back to school season. You’ll make fewer trips to the grocery store and waste less money on food that didn’t make it into a meal. I often freeze trimmed chicken breasts and steak tips with teriyaki sauce in freezer bags. Take them out of the freezer and thaw overnight. If you forget to take them out, defrost quickly in a pot of room tempurature water. Grill and serve with rice, veggies or salad and dinner’s done.  Think about some of your family’s (easy) favorite meals and have those pantry items on hand to complete the meal. My kids like the Al Frescos Chicken & Apple sausages, so I usually have those in the fridge.  They freeze well too.

When you make your master grocery list, think about what meals you will cook each day of the week ahead.  If you intentially cook extras you can plan to have leftovers on a busy evening.  When I meal plan, I think about whether I am “on” for carpool duty or have an event in the evening. When planning meals for those evenings I often make a double batch the night before and plan for leftovers.  When you create your meal plan and grocery list, go through your pantry to see what items you need for each meal so you use what you have and don’t waste money (and space in your pantry!) on unnecessary items.  Check out our previous post about streamlining your master grocery list here.  Combined with a weekly meal plan you’ll be efficient at the grocery store as well as in the kitchen! {free meal planning printable here}