One of my goals for the New Year is to be more diligent with my meal planning. I’ve gone through stages where I’m really great at it and times when I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to our meals. But I always feel better when I’ve got a game plan in place so I know exactly what we’re having to eat for the week ahead and I can buy my groceries at once instead of having to make multiple trips (all about being efficient these days!).
When I first started meal planning, I remember being super overwhelmed. I could barely think ahead to the next meal, let alone plan out through Friday! But I picked up a few tips and tricks along the way that have helped me a ton, so I wanted to share those with y’all today. Hopefully, this will help you if you’ve been discouraged by meal planning in the past. It really is a great way to save time and eat healthier, in my opinion.
Step 1: Pick Your Planning Day
For me, it’s always made sense to start my meal planning on the weekend. I love grocery shopping on Sundays; I’m not sure why, it just feels like a great way to kick off the week ahead. Plus, I usually use Sundays to do my brain dumps and other planning activities, so it just makes sense for me. But you have to find a day that works for you. Since I do my grocery shopping on Sunday afternoons, I typically do my planning either on Saturday or Sunday once we get home from church.
Step 2: Think About the Week Ahead
When I am planning out my meals for the week ahead, I always consider what we’ve got planned. For instance, if I know we already have dinner plans one night or Duncan will be working late, it impacts what my meals look like. On most weeks, we try to eat at home 4-5 nights and then eat out 2-3. This totally depends on the week, but that’s usually my goal. So I’ll plan meals Monday-Thursday, and then we’ll eat at home one of the weekend nights.
Step 3: Search for Recipes
One thing that saves me regularly is Home Chef. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen how much we love their recipes (especially the ramen, yum!). On the weeks that I place an order from them (I usually get 2-3 meals from them), I just cut back on my grocery shopping. A few sites I love to visit for quick, easy, and healthy recipes are:
Step 4: Write Out Your Ingredients
Once I’ve landed on the meals I want to make in the week ahead, I go one by one and write down all the ingredients I’ll need for each. I include everything that’s needed for the meals, then I go through my fridge and pantry and determine what I already have. This helps me make my grocery list (which is different from my ingredients list) so I don’t buy things I don’t need.
Step 5: Spend Some Time Prepping
Once I’ve bought everything I need for the week, I like to spend a little time Sunday evening prepping my food for the week. I don’t necessarily consider myself a meal prepper, but I do try to wash and chop any fruit and veggies I have and maybe even cook a chicken breast or two so I have meat I can easily throw on my salads. I find that even spending 30 minutes doing this on Sunday evening can make my life 10x easier throughout the rest of the week.
I know there’s nothing groundbreaking in this post, but sometimes just seeing how simple something actually can be is really helpful for me. Happy planning!
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