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Family Meal Planning
Everyone needs to eat … we just all have to figure out how to go about doing it.
Do we have fancy meals or simple meals? How about Spaghettios vs. Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon? Eat out or in?
It really is a constant debate … if we don’t already have a plan.
Constantly trying to figure out what to make for dinner and how to fit in the shopping and the prepping and cleaning can be exhausting. Hopefully, I have followed my 7 Steps to a Frugal Meal Plan, but sometimes life just gets in the way. There are weeks that meal planning is an easy process and sometimes it’s a really horrible, rotten, no good, process.
When I haven’t done my meal planning, I have to wander through the kitchen opening cupboard doors and the refrigerator, staring at all the bits in there … wondering what I can make of it. Sometimes those things just stare back at me? Tell me you know what I’m talking about.
Thankfully, I finally found a way to make fast food that doesn’t have all the consequences of drive-thru style fast food — I’ve discovered that I absolutely love to make freezer meals from MyFreezEasy.
That discovery started as quite a journey, though. I’ve gotten together with friends a couple of times to do day-long freezer meal prep sessions, I’ve done them alone and I’ve done them with family.
Freezer Meal Planning
When I planned freezer meals with my friends, we spent a couple (or a dozen) hours scouring Pinterest for freezer meals that looked good … and then we tried to decide which ones to make …. and then we had to come up with the whole list of all the different ingredients … for all the different recipes.
This planning actually took several hours. It was a pretty long process. We then had to map out how we were going to plan our day — which order we would do all the steps in.
On our cooking day we spent about 6 hours, ended up with 11 meals each and it came to about $9 per family-sized meal. That really was a good value, but we were exhausted!!! Literally P O O P E D! It was way too much work.
So, the next time I made a plan with a friend, we only chose meals for one protein option. That greatly reduced the planning and the prep time, but it still was way more work than we ever wanted to do again.
A Customizable Freezer Meal Plan
There is a good reason to use a pre-made meal plan for your freezer meal session. I’ve used some different ones and I have settled on one that I think is an amazing value. The problem with many pre-made plans is that they assume to know what your family likes to eat. Now, I’m guessing that your family may be like mine. We’re not picky eaters, but we also don’t like to eat everything … and if I’m going to invest in something, I want to make sure I get my money’s worth.
The awesome thing about MyFreezEasy is that it is completely customizable. Each month you get 8 new meal plans (traditional, gluten-free, slow-cooker, all chicken, all ground beef, all pork chop, clean eats, and 20 meals), and not only that, you can pick and choose from them all to make your customized plan.
Then, it creates an itemized shopping list and detailed instructions that you can print. You can even customize the meal sizes. I have a large family, so I made all my meals for a family of 6. And the thing is … it does this in minutes. Really, as soon as you make your choice of meals and drag and drop them in their spot, it does it’s thing and BAM! You’ve got your lists!
Here’s one more really awesome thing … imagine this. You’re standing in the grocery store and you see that chicken breast is on sale for a ridiculous $1.69 per pound (yes, that happens), so you want to make freezer meals quick. You pull out your phone, open up your MyFreezEasy app (of course, there’s an app for this) and choose your meals. Right there at the store you can choose your meals, see your shopping list, buy the additional items you need and be on your way to a freezer meal session, in a flash. This is the best way that you’ll save money!
In the app, you can choose meals based on Dietary Preference (Gluten-Free, Paleo, Allergy, etc.), Cooking Method (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, Grill, etc.), and Protein Choice. They even have a plan for when you get your Zaycon Fresh order. There are so many recipe choices, it would be impossible not to find something for every family. There are even Vegetarian and Seafood options.
When you do a freezer meal session, you do the work all at once … and then you have a freezer stocked with a bunch of meals in a fraction of the time and the work is finished! Then, all you have to do is cook your meal and it’s ready to eat. Shoot! Someone else in the house can even cook it if you’re too busy or out for the evening.
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A Family Freezer Meal Prepping Session
My family took an afternoon and in about 2 ½ hours we prepared 20 freezer meals (This is a double session). We decided to customize an All Pork Plan and an All Chicken Plan. That week, the chicken breast was on sale and pork was too.
And, if you don’t already know about it, Zaycon Fresh has great prices on bulk-purchased meats. You can order through their website and arrange to pick up at a location near you. Their meats are very fresh because they come straight to you from the producer, instead of spending weeks in warehouses or grocery stores. Try Zaycon Fresh by clicking here.
UPDATE: Special Promo Code for my readers – get 22% off your entire first order. Use Code: NEW22, expires 6/30.
My kids are 11, 11, 10, and 6. They were very capable and eager to help. I started by assigning each of them different jobs and even assigning them leadership roles over my littlest guy. If they were younger I would only have made 10 meals, which is a standard plan. With these plans, you can make 10 Freezer Meals in 1 hour. Really, this is possible! We all enjoyed spending the time together and they thought it was a lot of fun doing the measuring and mixing and chopping.
We pulled out all the cutting boards, knives, food processor, mixing bowls, measuring spoons, cups and anything else we might need. We cut all the vegetables in one area and the meat in another. The sauces were also made in one spot, so things stayed where they were needed. At the end, dirty stuff went in the dishwasher, the counters and knives were washed, and the meals were put in the freezer.
Having the kids involved did take a little extra organization, but it was well worth it. I had only one person (my husband) handling the raw meat so we didn’t have to worry about any cross-contamination, and that left me to float between all the kids and managing the prep lists.
It turned out to be a great, productive afternoon.
15 Reasons to Make Freezer Meals
So I came up with the reasons why you should join me in my endeavor to do a monthly freezer meal session.
- You will be so happy to open your freezer and stare at your completed meals.
- Your kids can help you with all the chopping, measuring and mixing.
- They get to practice their math and reading skills while they’re at it.
- In an hour’s time, you will be saving yourself 5 hours of meal prep.
- By using meat you buy in bulk you will save a ton of money.
- Someone else can thaw the meal and cook it for dinner.
- It becomes the perfect gift for a new mom or sick friend.
- You’re eating healthier because you will eat out less.
- The meal prep time can be a family bonding time.
- It is so much more efficient because you already have all the equipment out.
- You can use your food processor to do the chopping for you.
- Someone else does the planning for you, which leaves you for the important stuff.
- It leaves you with more time for your kids.
- Meal planning is less stressful.
- It saves you money because you’re going through the drive-thru less.
You may think that making 10 meals at once sounds like a lot of work or is too hard. Let me tell you, MyFreezEasy makes it so easy. It gives you step-by-step instructions and each month Erin makes a video where she walks through the prep for her traditional meal plan. After you’ve done it once, you’ll realize that it’s a breeze and you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it all along.
This is something I am planning to do each and every month. It not only helps me out, it’s also awesome for the kids. It gets them in the kitchen and teaches them that they are an important part of our household. It shows them that their contribution makes a difference. Each time we serve one of the meals that they helped make, their faces light up and they get to remember what went into it and the different ways that they helped.
So, forget Spaghettios and Julia Child and get on board with a great freezer meal plan like these from MyFreezEasy.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with using freezer meals. Have you tried them before? Or, is there something holding you back?
Weekly Meal Planner
Get the Weekly Meal Planner and Worksheets here!