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My Meal Planning Strategy for This Summer

on May 28, 2014 by Jami Balmet 1 comment

This summer is going to be a busy one. My twin toddlers are old enough that this is going to be a fun summer with them! I want to spend quality time with my family this summer so that’s why I’m taking it easy when it comes to meal planning. Here’s how I’m doing it:

My Simple Summer Meal Planning Strategy

One of my biggest priorities as a homemaker is making delicious and nutritious meals for my family. We buy very little prepared foods and I make most of our meals and snacks from scratch. But of course, this takes a lot of time, energy, and planning. Meal planning is an essential tool that I use as a homemaker. It helps me to save money, make healthier meals, and to ensure that there’s always something planned for dinner.

But sometimes, like during a busy summer, meal planning can feel like too much effort. I’ve been trying to figure out what my plan is going to be for this summer when I came across an amazing new meal planning website. I’ve tried meal planning websites before but I always felt like something was missing. I’ve only been using Build a Menu now for one week, but I’m already hooked!

Easy Steps to Simple Meal Planning

While I have an arsenal of family favorite recipes that are printed out and scattered throughout my favorite cookbooks, right now I feel too busy to get them all out, make a meal plan, and then develop a shopping list! Last week, while browsing through my favorite blogs, I came across this meal planning website I had never heard of before: Build a Menu. They are having a semi-annual sale right now so I decided to try it out – and I’m so excited about it that I just had to share! 

You can have a completed meal plan (tailored to your favorite grocery store and your family’s unique needs) planned out by day and a printed shopping list ready in less than 20 minutes. I did my first meal plan this week and it saved so much time! Let me walk you through how easy it is to design a meal plan with Build a Menu.

Step One: Choose Your Grocery Store

This is a unique feature that I’ve never seen done on a meal planning website before. You get to choose which store you are going to shop at and Build a Menu actually pulls the prices from the weekly ads for that store to give you a running total of what your groceries for the week will cost!

Each meal has an estimate next to it for what it will cost. This is a great way to make sure you are sticking within your budget or only choosing low cost meals. I love this feature! The stores it currently has to pick from are: Fred Meyer, HEB, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Walmart, Aldi, and any grocery store (this option allows you to see an averaged estimate of meals for any store you might want to shop at).

Step Two: Pick Out Your Recipes

Whether you like to plan out three meals a day for your family or just plan out a few dinners here and there, Build a Menu allows you to use their meal planner the way you need it!

This is where Build a Menu gets fun! They have eight categories to choose from. Then within each category (i.e. breakfast, dinner, snacks, ect) you can choose from a ton of different types of meals. The thing that sold me on Build a Menu, is that they offer Trim Healthy Mama meals! My husband and I are both trying to lose weight and eat healthier and Trim Healthy Mama is my favorite way to do it!

Designing a meal plan in 20 minutes or less!
Notice that next to each meal is an estimated price and then to the right is my estimated total for the meal plan!

Step Three: Build Your Menu

Step three gives you a simple drag and drop option for designing a calender full of your meal plans. Simply pick which meals you want for each days and within seconds you have a fully designed meal plan ready to print out! You can even add snacks, desserts, sides, and food for your kids to the menu.

From here, you can print out all the recipes (or open then on your iPad or laptop in the kitchen) and then print out your shopping list. This is my favorite part of the entire meal plan: my shopping list is automatically created for me in a manner of seconds! All I have to do is print it out, quickly scan to cross off items I already have, and head to the store!

Meal Planning in 20 Minutes - Making the Shopping List
My printed shopping list – ready to go in less than 20 minutes with a complete meal plan for the week!

Overall I’m very happy with this meal planning website. I’ve never used one that was so user friendly. This meal planning website was created by two moms, not some big company, and you can really tell. Using the website, I feel like they really understand what I need as a busy mom and homemaker!

I’m planning to use Build a Menu all summer and I’m looking forward to the new feature they said is coming soon: using your own family favorite recipes in the website.

By the way – you can try out Build a Menu for just $4 for your first month! Use coupon code: SaveMeMoney to try out my very favorite meal planning solution!  (I’ve been using Build a Member now for over a year and a half and I am totally in love with it!) Find out more about Build a Menu here

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% my own!

Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

  • Do you want to discover more joy, peace, & tranquility within your home?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and like your house is out of control?
  • Join my free course and learn the essential habits for Christian homemakers