Have you ever planned a wholesome, delicious meal and then when it got to the table, half of your family didn’t want to eat it? *face palm* Whether you are cooking for a large family or just you and a partner, planning meals that everyone enjoys can be hard!

You might be struggling with working around different schedules, planning meals that everyone will eat, or still figuring out everyone’s preferences!

Today, we have some tips for you to help make meal planning with your family or partner easier.

African-american couple cooking dinner with recipe on laptop in loft kitchen

1) Meal plan together

The first step to making meals that keep everyone happy is to all be on the same page. The best way to do that is to plan meals together. Get your family or partner’s input on what to eat each week, so everyone feels included and satisfied. 

Ask your family members or partner what recipes or flavors they enjoy eating and then make a point to plan recipes related to those tastes. It might be that each night of the week is dedicated to one person’s favorite meal or you can try to incorporate different favorites with side dishes along with a main meal. 

We understand that having everyone together for the meal planning process isn’t always possible, but you can use Plan to Eat to remember what recipes everyone likes!

In Plan to Eat, you can create a tag for “family favorite” or a family member’s name and then add that to recipes when someone tells you they enjoyed it. You can also use the 5-star rating system to signify which recipes were a hit with your family. Then use the filtering options to find these recipes for your next meal plan!

I use a tag called “Fam Faves” for recipes that both my husband and I love. Plus, I use my husband’s name as a tag for recipes that are his particular favorites. These tags help me find and plan these recipes on weeks when life is busy and I’m not feeling creative. It’s easy to search for these recipes and make an effortless, yet customized meal plan!

a screenshot of Roni's "fam fave" recipes in her Plan to Eat account

2) Share your Plan to Eat account.

Another option for family meal planning is to share your Plan to Eat account! You can simply share your login details and everyone can download the app on their devices, or use the website.

Sharing a meal plan allows everyone to give their input on recipes, what’s planned, and add items to the shopping list. If you’re all running on different schedules, you can make Notes in the Planner for who will be home to cook which meals. And everyone can see what ingredients are needed for dinner, so they don’t accidentally use something before it can be added to a recipe!

We like to add our other events and obligations to our Plan to Eat Planner, so we can reference them when creating a meal plan or getting ready to cook. My husband adds in his scheduled events as Notes, which helps me to create a plan around busy nights or times when I might be eating dinner solo. 

Plus, grocery shopping can be a shared task since any changes on one device will sync with others logged into the same account (as long as you have wifi or data). You can either go to the store together and divide and conquer, or designate someone to go, based on schedules. 

3) Be flexible! 

The most important thing about planning with your family or partner, is to be flexible! You might plan certain meals for specific days, but if that recipe won’t work for everyone tonight, then move on to the next one!

We often switch up the order of our planned dinners. Sometimes it’s based on a change in our schedules and others it’s because an ingredient we have needs to get used up faster (like wilty lettuce!).

It doesn’t have to be a stressor that dinner is different from what we planned because we already have other recipes planned for! Things get stressful, when you don’t have a plan in place and then you’re stuck with no other options.

Young white woman and son cook from a recipe in a bright kitchen

There are myriad ways Plan to Eat can help you create meal plans with a family in mind! Here are some additional ideas:

  • Use ingredient notes in recipes to show substitutions for any dietary restrictions you might have in your household. ie: cauliflower rice for white rice, lettuce for a bun, etc.
  • If you plan separate meals for individual family members, you can use Notes to separate the recipes visually on the Planner.
  • Print your meal plan and have it in the kitchen for easy reference!
  • Create new categories or stores in the Shopping List based on who needs what items. For example: a Store called Roni with items: toothpaste, shampoo, protein bars. 
  • Use the Random Recipe button to surprise everyone with a (potentially) new recipe!

No matter the size of your family, simply creating a meal plan will help you get organized and take the stress out of “what’s for dinner?”. So if you’re looking for the most basic place to start: create a meal plan!

And Plan to Eat can help! Plan to Eat takes all the aspects of traditional meal planning: a recipe book; a planning calendar; and a shopping list, and puts them all into one platform. Organize your recipes however you like. Create custom meal plans to fit your family’s needs. And then the program will generate a shopping list for you!

Plan to Eat is traditional meal planning, simplified! 

Get started today with a 30-day free trial, no payment information required!

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