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Meal Planning Tips & Family Dinners

I’ve been really burnt out on meal planning lately.

It seems to be taking me way more time than I want to plan out our meals and grocery shop, which is crazy because I only cook a few nights a week and always double the recipe so we can eat leftovers in between meals. So I was very thankful for all of the great tips you all shared on my meal planning post on Instagram and rounded some of the responses up in a post for those of you struggling with meal planning too! And thanks to a reader recommendation, I found a great user-friendly meal planning app that I am really excited about — eMeals (referral link for 2 free weeks and $10 off)! I signed up for the 3 months membership and used the app for our meal plan this week! It was SO fun picking out the meals and the grocery list is automatically built for you so it makes it super easy. You can even send your grocery list directly to Walmart, Shipt, Instacart, etc. if you want to skip the grocery store.

8 Reader Meal Planning Tips

  1. Meal delivery kits (every week or every other week!): HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef, Hungry Root
  2. Meal planning service: Meal Squeeze (weekly meal plans based on the weekly grocery deals) // eMeals (user friendly meal planning app that you can tailor to kid friendly, keto, slow cooker, etc.and comes with shopping lists) // Prep Dish
  3. Ask your kids what they want to eat!
  4. Weekly theme nights: Monday – pasta / Tuesday – tacos / Wednesday – grill night / Thursday – crock pot / Friday – pizza
  5. Cookbooks: Skinnytaste Meal Prep Cookbook // Defined Dish Healthy Wholesome Weeknight Recipes
  6. Cook meals in bulk & freeze.
  7. Local meal delivery kits: The Blossoming Kitchen // Nourish Charlotte (plant based meals) // Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen (fresh family style meals in oven safe packaging) // Great Full Plates (fresh ingredients with minimal cooking)
  8. Rotate 10 simple and easy meals. No need to reinvent the wheel!

Family Dinner Table Topics

We’ve been eating dinner as a family almost every night during the week ever since y’all inspired me on my IG poll! Previously, we only ate as a family 1-2 nights a week (not including Pizza & Family Movie Night) and now it’s become part of our routine every weeknight! Even though it extends our evening (and ultimately bedtime) a bit later since we wait for Matt to arrive home to eat, it’s been worth it as the pros have far outweighed the cons.

For one, the kids are reluctant to spill all the details of their day right when we pick them up from school, but are excited to share with the family over dinner once they’ve unwound a bit. And they love to hear about our day too.

Second, everyone is eating the same dinner now, whereas I used to give the kids lunchables or throw some frozen chicken nuggets and fries in the oven several nights a week (which they definitely still get on the nights we can’t eat as a family) and then I’d eat whatever I cooked with Matt much later. Do the kids always eat what I make? No. But they’ll pick out what they like from dinner and then I usually fill in their plates with fruits and extra veggies.

And lastly, we’ve loved family dinner Table Topics! After we’ve all shared about our day, I usually have 1-2 topics picked out and the conversations have been SO much fun…and funny.

Here are a few other Table Topic editions you may like: KIDS / TEEN / ORIGINAL / FAMILY / WHAT WOULD YOU DO / HAPPINESS / KIDS VARIETY PACK

*One of my readers reached out after seeing my Table Topics IG story and shared a new game that her husband and three of his dad’s friends created called Good vs Gooder. The game is for ages 9+ and you can purchase it from Kickstarter to play with your family!

Real Life Disclaimer: Dinner doesn’t usually look as pretty as this photo staged for this post.


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Leigh Anne

Thursday 22nd of October 2020

Naptime kitchen & the lazy genuis are great follows for kid meals + meal planning + so much more goodness! Relatable and down to earth accounts :)

Liz Fuller

Thursday 22nd of October 2020

Thank you for sharing Good vs Gooder - it is a great family game and perfect for dinner time discussion! We've been using Blue Apron during quarantine, but I am getting tired of what still feels like a lot of prep and the same recipes repeated. Will be checking out eMeals!