Is meal planning and getting food on the table taking too much time? Maybe even you’re stopping before you start because it feels overwhelming? With all the extra busy that accompanies fall (especially this year), having strategies to get this important work done so you can spend less mental energy on food during the week is key.

Decrease Overwhelm + Keep Inspiration Handy

Create a go-to recipe list

  • One of the biggest barriers to meal planning is the mental effort and time it takes to find and think up a whole week or more’s worth of recipes. Get over the hump of just starting by having a go-to list of recipes or meals written down (not just in your head) that you can pull out when  you sit down to plan for the week.
  • We use a shared note in our phones that includes some of our favourite healthy meals (eg steaks with grilled asparagus and baby potatoes), and links to recipes (like our favourite Buffalo chicken casserole) when we have one so it’s easy to pull together a grocery list.
    • Use a written note on your fridge, note in your phone, excel spreadsheet, app, whatever works! Make sure it’s easy to find and use so you can get meal planning done with minimal fuss.

Keep new recipes you come across in one easy to access place

  • In the same vein as above, we don’t want you getting stuck for 2 hours down a Pinterest recipe rabbit hole every week. It’s a time suck and a huge barrier to getting meal planning done and dusted.
  • Be diligent about saving the link to every recipe somewhere handy and only keep ones that look like you’ll actually make them (everyday ingredients, reasonable time to cook/get ready etc).
  • Choose ONE place if you can. We want you to be able to sit down and plan meals in 15-20 minutes, not 1-2 hours.  It might be a Pinterest board, a note in your phone with links or cookbook page numbers (we love this option for everything in my house), a printed file in your kitchen. You do you!

Choose familiar recipes to start, and introduce 1 new recipe per week max

  • Now that we’re organized, focus on each week being mostly recipes you have made before. This reduces overwhelm the night you’re cooking because you can stay on autopilot.
  • Pick one new meal every week or two if you’re feeling bored of your usuals to add some variety without making eating well dependent on having the energy to bust out a brand new recipe every night of the week.
  • Don’t forget to add the winners to your “go-to” list!

Save 1 full week of meals + grocery list as a back pocket plan

  • If a weekend away, family gathering, kids sports or load of errands cause you to skip meal planning altogether? Make sure you have one ready to go week locked and loaded so that we don’t lose entire healthy weeks to a busy schedule.
  • I like to keep a few of our favourite super easy meals and the accompanying grocery list written down. This means I can head straight to the grocery store when we get home or put in an order before we go. I find I’m rarely inspired on Sunday night after a busy or away weekend and this saves me that headache.

Ready for a totally free meal planning workshop that you can watch anytime? I’ve got you! My Make Meal Planning Easy tutorial is live here.  I’d love to help make this the smoothest September yet for eating well.

Need some recipe inspo for those go-to lists?

Healthy veggie recipes that aren’t salad
Healthy Recipes for summer veggies

If you have a recipe you love but want to make sure it’s healthy and balanced, check out this step by step guide we wrote to help make it easy.

Need some help getting your meals for the week balanced and prepared? If you’d like to receive our free Meal Planning Getting Started Guide AND get in on our weekly emails about all things nutrition so you can get clarity and confidence on what you’re eating, join us here!