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Five steps to healthy meal planning in 30 minutes or less!

by Special Guest, Jenna Allerson

5 steps to healthy meal planning, happy family eating

After a long day have you ever opened the fridge to start dinner, saw a bunch of food, but somehow there didn’t seem to be anything to actually put on the table? I know I have and it can be so stressful, especially when you have a house full of family ready and waiting to eat. In times like this, it always seems easier to pick up the phone and dial your favorite take out or pizza place, right? I get it, I’ve been there, but I promise there’s a better way and it all starts with a little planning.

Planning at the beginning of the week will not only save you so much time, but also money, unnecessary calories, and lots of unnecessary stress during the week. I have a five step system that will get your meals planned for the entire week in 30 minutes or less. Yes, 30 minutes, I promise, just stick with me 🙂

Five easy steps for easy meal planning:

  1. Create a list of “go-to” meals. These should be meals that you enjoy eating and making. Come up with at least 21. This translates into dinner for three weeks. For easy reference, print and put them all in one place. Have fun with it. Buy a pretty binder and store them in there, so you like looking through it each week.
  1. Create “theme” days for the week. For example:
    1. Meatless Monday
    2. Taco Tuesday
    3. Crockpot Wednesday
    4. Leftover Thursday
    5. Convenience Meal Friday*
    6. Takeout Saturday
    7. Sit down Sunday
5 steps to healthy meal planning

This creates a structure for you to choose from when you’re thinking about your “go-to” menu. Make the themes work for you and your family. You can always use a theme and search on Pinterest for a new recipe to mix it up (but make sure to add it to your collection, if it’s delicious).

  1. Use the grocery list template to put in all of your ingredients by area of store for ease of shopping or online ordering. Pro tip: if available in your area, pre-order your groceries for pick-up and delivery. The grocery list will be saved from week to week and it will save you time doing the actual shopping. Many grocery stores offer this as a free service with minimum purchase.
  2. Always include a convenience meal* on your grocery list for unexpected nights where you may get home late, or you have an unexpected guest. Some examples: frozen pizza, frozen pasta and sauce, Trader Joe’s orange chicken and fried rice.

  3. Hang a simple calendar on the fridge sharing the week’s meals. This will come in handy if you need help from your partner or kids. Pro tip: if you have all the recipes in one spot it makes it easy to direct others to find exactly what they need.

I’ve created a downloadable version of Five Steps to Healthy Meal Planning and a Grocery List template for you as well. Keep these resources right with your recipes to make it an easy to get done task.

meal planning 101 and grocery list printable

Happy planning!

Thanks from Tender Transitions

We’d like to thank Jenna for contributing to our blog this month. Her family’s sleep dramatically changed after hiring Tender Transitions. Her whole family is getting the sleep they need to stay productive and healthy. We invited her to share her expertise with you because healthy meal planning makes answering your children’s constant “what’s for dinner? Can I have a snack?” questions less stressful.

Jenna Allerson is a holistic health coach living in Minnesota with her husband, two sons (Owen who is five and August who is two), and her fur baby, Lucy. Jenna is passionate about helping women and families create healthy lifestyles that are simple and sustainable. If you’d like to learn more about Jenna (and receive a free seven day meal plan) visit her website at,

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Simply Centered is a four-week program that uses a holistic approach to create a healthy lifestyle that’s simple, achievable, and enjoyable. Simply Centered is a comprehensive program that combines the program’s core foundation of nutrition/hydration, movement, and community with a featured holistic topic to enhance your overall health. The June 15 session will focus on your financial health and wellbeing.

For the Tender Transitions community only, Jenna is offering a $10 discount at checkout. Use the code “tender10” to redeem today. Don’t wait, the next session starts on June 15.

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