Back to School = Meal Planning!

I don’t know what you do for food in the summertime, but around here meal planning is pretty dismal. Granted, the blessing and curse of being a divorced parent is that we have a good portion of the summer without children. This means we either grab takeout or quite literally scrounge for whatever we can find around the house. No joke, Marc and I turn into sad bachelors in the summertime!

So, when all the kids get back and we get into the groove of the school year again, it always hits me like a smack in the face, “We have no food! We have to go to the store! OMG I have to start cooking again! I need a PLAN!!”
Before my little home business got too busy, I had a lot more time for all the “mom” chores, like coupon clipping, meal planning and grocery shopping. But lately, with my husband and I both primarily working from home, it seems we daily look up from our computers or one of us is flying in the door around dinner time asking, “honey, what are we doing for dinner?” If we’re not careful, we’ll end up going to the grocery store multiple times a week or eating out most meals. Not only is that a stress on us, but it’s also a strain on the bank account.
So I thought I’d share some of my tips and tricks for planning ahead and saving time and money on food. Here are my top 4 favorite tricks for getting organized with meal planning:

1. Subscription Boxes

Subscription boxes are the trend these days, and you can sign up for boxes of cleaning supplies, razors, clothes and even food! Many of my friends and postpartum doula clients love these boxes. Companies like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh supply boxes with recipes (you pick the meals you want), pre-portioned food, and even condiments all in a refrigerated box, and it’s all delivered right to your door step. These are ideal for families up to 4 people. Here’s a pic of one of the boxes:

2. Double Batches

Sometimes I intentionally make double batches of something, especially baked pastas or chili, so I can freeze half of it for a later meal. Cook once, enjoy twice!

3. Follow the Sale

Running out of ideas? If start with the sale ads, or if you shop at Target, download the Cartwheel app on your phone and scroll through the grocery offers on your lunch break before hitting the store. Oftentimes, there will be groups of items that go together. For instance, pasta and sauce may both be on sale that week, or salsa and tortillas. Look for a theme in the food you see on sale, and try to grab items that can easily be thrown together for a meal. This is a great way to plan and budget at the same time!

4. Freezer Meal Planning

If you really want to get organized and plan ahead, freezer meal planning is the way to go. This is seriously one of my new most favorite things! Granted, it definitely requires a good amount of time on the back end to plan, shop and prepare, but the rewards are phenomenal!! You can plan ahead for as many meals as you want, use coupons, and even do double batches if you want to. I just prepared 10 full meals for my family of 6 for around $200, and the food is yummy. Check out my Freezer Budget Meal Plan here. Wildtree is a great resource and their representatives can help you put together a freezer meal workshop where you can prepare 10-20 meals with your friends with great ingredients. They do all the planning for you and even give you labels for your bags! Contact my Wildtree Rep, Joanna and she’ll get you set up! Other freezer meal plans can be found at the kitchn and Stockpiling Moms.

I’d love to hear your tips for organizing your meal plans for the school year! What are your favorite tips and tricks?
See you around town (or the kitchen),


Categories: Honeybee Mama