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I understand though how overwhelming it can feel. I have worked on this most of my adult life.
It takes too long. It is complicated. It is stressful.
Does it seem like you can just never make everyone in the family happy?
I get it. I struggled for years and finally came up with a system that changed everything.
Let me share it with you.
Now right out of the gate, I am going to be honest and let you know that the principles I am sharing with you are a manual process. I have created pre-made templates to make things easier for you but it is still a manual process.
If you want a more automated process than I am happy to share the app I use. It does everything in my manual system but it is all automated. Now that I have it I will never go without it.
There is a fee involved to use it but it is very small and in my opinion well worth it. Now that I use it I will never go back to pen and paper again. I do make a very tiny commission on this app but there are other apps out there you can check on as well. If you find any you like please be sure to let me know so I can share them with the rest of the team.
The app I am referring to is Plan to Eat and you can try it free for 30 days without having to give any credit card info. At the end of the trial, you can subscribe for $4.95 a month or $39 a year ($3.25 a month). I save more than that by not throwing food away and only buying what I want instead of impulse buying. Not to mention the decrease in stress and time spent.
Ok, with that said, here is the system I developed. Feel free to tweak it if you want.
You will need to do some initial upfront work to lay the groundwork but once this is done your life will be so much easier.
The Healthy Tomato Meal Planning Program
#1 Create a list of at least 15 – 25 recipes that you make on a regular basis that you and your family already love. I call these my Rotating Mainstays. Most if not all should be clean and healthy. Click here for the template.
#2 Now you can choose 5 meals from this list and add them to your weekly meal planner template. Click here for the template.
#3 Now choose 2 new recipes. I suggest you pick a sheet pan meal, instant pot, or slow cooker type meal to make things easy.
#4 Based on these recipes, add the items you need to your shopping list. Click here for the template.
#5 Review your recipes and list out what can be prepped ahead of time. For instance, any veggies or herbs that need to be chopped or diced. Cheese that can be pre-shredded. Marinades, or dressings that can be pre-mixed. Etc. Now write these instructions on your prep list. Click here for the template.
I have created templates for this system that you can have for free. They include: