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What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Meal Planning

What to do when you don't feel like meal planning or prepping

We have been struggling to do proper meal planning. And by “we,” I mostly mean “me.” Honestly, we’re burnt out of many of our faves, the same cuts of meat have gone on sale, and we are busy with summertime. So what do we do? We’ve been hitting fast food a bit lately. And honestly, we don’t even like fast food! Sure, Taco Bell occasionally sounds good, but choosing to split a McNuggets meal between me and the two kids because it’s the “best option” stinks. So here are some tips I’ve personally used to get us back into better meal planning.

1. Write down your schedule/appointments - make those meals priority

Who has soccer practice? When is that dentist appointment? Haircut (yea I know, you probably laughed at that like I did while typing)…. write that all down, and usually that will help you decide what type of a meal to do. Maybe you don’t want to plan out every meal of the week, but if you have an evening practice, you can plan around that event by having a crock pot or instant pot meal ready to go. Or maybe you’d rather just bring a picnic along with you of sandwiches and salads. That’s cool too! But just plan around your activities to avoid the last minute fast food or prepackaged marked up stuff.

2. try something completely new

You probably could’ve thought of this, but sometimes hearing or reading about it helps. I decided to try a new lighter potato salad recipe. Instead of a creamy thick heavy sauce, it was based around EVOO and dijon mustard. I added in lots of vegetables and herbs from the garden, and it was a hit! Here’s the thing….I don’t like potato salad. Normally. But this was a side everyone in our family enjoyed, because I looked for something a little out of the box!

3. buy a treat item

What is something you’ve wanted at home but just seemed a bit too expensive or necessary? Maybe it’s a special bread, pretzel buns, or an exotic fruit. Include that into your meals/grocery list. Why? Because if you’re so bored that you end up eating out, chances are pretty good that one special item at the grocery store will save you money in the long run. Personally, I’m itching to buy truffle oil to make homemade roasted truffle fries. It’s about $13 for a small bottle, but that will last way longer and be less expensive than us going to a restaurant as a family just so I can get a side of truffle fries. And now, I’m going to be sure to plan a meal around those truffle fries. So that’s another night in my week covered, woohoo!

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4. make meal prepping enjoyable

Put on your favorite music or TV show. Either wait until the kids are in bed or keep them occupied. My favorite method is to wait until the kids are napping, or at least one is napping and the other gets a little screen time. Then I can still watch what I want (on a laptop that’s visible from the countertop). Or listen to some podcasts or audiobooks. Maybe even wait until the kids are in bed and things have settled down and do it with a glass of wine or spritzer. If you need a new YouTube channel to watch, subscribe to mine here:

5. Something tried-and-true

I know that when you feel meal planning burnout, that sometimes it’s because of repeating meals. But there has got to be something that your family enjoys that you haven’t made in a while. Think hard, and go for it this week! 

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4 thoughts on “What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Meal Planning”

  • I go in and out of phases of meal planning. Sometimes I’m super on top of it and lovely the process, and sometimes life gets in the way and I totally fall out of sync.
    I also tend to try and prep my lunches for the week, but everything that is filling and can be frozen and easily reheated (I like hot lunches) seems to always be something and rice. Eating rice 5 days a week gets boring quiet quickly haha.
    I like your second tip about trying something new – I might give this a go with my lunches. Not sure what to try though….
    What’s your favourite go to meal at the moment?

    • Oh totally! We have the same struggle at times too. Hot lunches are lovely! I’ve been LOVING this Sesame Chicken. It’s a slightly more involved recipe but is SO good. And it freezes/reheats beautifully! -Rachel

      • Mmmm that sounds lovely! I had a read through and it looks great. Maybe I’ll give it a go if I can get a hold of all the ingredients. I’m in the UK so no Trader Joes for me 🙁

        • Oh sure that makes sense.. Bummer! We got one about 2 years ago and it’s been a game changer. Hope you can find the ingredients 🙂

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