MEAL PLANNING TIPS FOR FAMILIES
Planning out your meals for the month has many advantages. If you know how much of each ingredient you'll need before the month begins, you can buy in bulk and save money. You can make sure everyone is happy by letting each family member pick their favorite meals for the month. You can cook things that can be refrigerated or frozen ahead of time. You can plan out shopping trips to coincide with your couponing, saving you lots of money. You can even plan your meals around which coupons you'll have, saving you even more money. Use these tips brought to you by Only Hangers to get your family's meals, budget, and even health in order.
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1) Couponing is a great way to save money, but you may find yourself spending money on things that you never use or would not have purchased to begin with if you don't plan ahead. There are some great couponing sites out there, including individual store web sites and blogs, that let you know which coupons are coming out the next month. You can scan these lists and pick out things that you know you would like to cook and place them on your calendar after the coupon comes out.
2) After you have a few couponing meals added to your calendar, make a list of all of the other meals that you and your family enjoys. Let each family member pick out their favorites and spread them equally around the calendar so that you have a fairly even spread. This will help to keep everyone happy. You can also let the kids help cook when it's time to make their special meal, giving you one-on-one time with them and teaching them the secrets to your recipes. Help them start their own recipe books to take with them when they leave home. Including pictures of them cooking these special dishes with you will make for a great keepsake.
3) Now that you have your family's favorites and your couponing meals on the calendar, you will need to go through and write out ingredients. If you need a half onion for two different recipes, either plan on freezing the unused half until the day that you'll need it next, or simply move the two meals that will use the onion closer together on the calendar. Make note of what you can buy in bulk on which weeks. Make adjustments as necessary to keep meals with shared perishable products close together.
Getting your meal plan in order make take quite a while the first time that you do it. Color coding staples and couponing specials will help you to use the same schedule the next month, without making too many adjustments. You may want to type up your favorite recipes and keep them so that you can quickly access grocery lists from each recipe as you create your menu.