Most of us are used to figuring out what to eat ourselves and can easily run to the grocery store knowing what to get. But transitioning to planning meals for the entire family can be a bit more challenging. Luckily, my toddler isn't picky, but I still try to plan our family meals to make our routine easier. Meal planning can be a fun way to get the whole family involved in deciding what meals to cook and eat.

When I get ready to make my meal plan, I grab my SARASA Clip gel pen to write everything down. It's stylish, writes smooth, and comes in plenty of colors (explore all of the SARASA Clip colors), making it my go-to pen for meal planning. Once you have all the necessary tools handy, you can create your meal plan. Below are my simple tips for creating a meal plan for the whole family.

Keep a list of family favorites

The easiest way to plan a meal is to start with recipes you know everyone in the family will love; this could be your go-to weeknight dinner or a dish that always gets rave reviews. Having a list of tried-and-true recipes on hand will make planning meals much more manageable. It's also wise to have a few quick and easy meal ideas for those nights you know you'll be busy and won't have much time to cook.

Keeping a list of 10 or 15 family favorites and easy-to-make meals will allow you to quickly meal plan each week while still allowing for some variety. Of course, you can always throw in a new recipe during weeks when you're feeling a little more adventurous.

Take stock of what you have

One thing I love to do before I even start deciding on my menu for the week is to use my SARASA Clip gel pen and go through my pantry, fridge, and freezer to write down what I already have on hand. This helps use up those items you may have forgotten about before they expire, and it can save you a little money at the store that week and help you decide on a menu based on what you already have at home.

Decide on a menu for the week

When you have an idea of what you have on hand, you can start planning your menu for the week. Take a look at your week and decide which meals will work and if you have any new recipes you want to try. Having a calendar with each meal for lunch or dinner on it in a visible place will keep everyone on the same page and prevent the "what's for dinner?" dilemma when 5 PM hits.

Write your grocery list

Now that you know what meals you'll be eating for the week, it's time to write your grocery list. With a broad variety of colors and a smudge-free finish, the SARASA Clip gel pen makes writing out your grocery list a little more fun! You can even use their range of colors to color-code your list based on the meals you'll be making or what aisles you'll find each item in at the grocery store.

Believe it or not, planning out family dinners doesn't have to be complicated. With these simple tips, you'll be able to easily plan a week's worth of meals that everyone in the family will enjoy.