There is a myth out there that meal planning has to be this amazingly hard thing, and that only stay at home moms really have time to do it. Well, I am here to help debunk that myth. I do understand how it can seem like meal planning can be this super hard thing. But as humans, there are times were we truly make things harder than they need to be for ourselves.
You don’t have to follow this exact list to have a successful meal plan. This is just what I have found to be the easiest for me.
First things first, you’re going to want to take a look at your calendar. I would suggest only meal planning for as many days as there are in between shopping expeditions. This is usually between five to seven days. You can go ahead and ignore any days you have planned to eat out. If it helps, go ahead and write down how many days you are actually planning for.
2.) What’s in stock?
Now you are going to take a look at your fridge and pantry. Most of us always have a few staple ingredients around. This usually means we have at least one or two favorite meals that our families go for. You can go ahead and write those meals wherever you would like in the week.
If you can only think of one or two meals and then get stuck, that is perfectly fine. This would be the time to look at any cookbooks you have, or recipe websites you love, or even Pinterest. Whichever meals you happen to have the most ingredients for may be the best bet. You can go ahead and fill those into your missing dates.
4.) Grocery List
Now that you have all of the meals planned out, it’s time to make a grocery list for any missing ingredients you may need. (Pro tip: try to stick with foods that are in season, as much as you can. This usually means that they are cheaper and you can save some money).
Now that you have a grocery list of all the things you will actually need, go to the grocery store. You may want to visit more than one, if you know the prices will be better somewhere else.
6.) Get one step ahead
I would suggest that as soon as you get back from the grocery store to do as much prep for the meals as you can. This can be as simple as washing all the vegetables and chopping them up as you need. Or even cutting and marinating any meat you know that you will be using. If you do have the time, you can go ahead and prepare the meals themselves and keep them in the fridge or freezer. However you do it, you will now be one step ahead for the week.
7.) Bask in your awesomeness
Now, all you have to do is pull out the meal or the pre prepped ingredients and you’re good to go. No longer are the days were your spouse or kids ask you what’s for dinner and you come up blank. You can now gracefully tell them what’s for dinner, as well as make it in half the time.
The great thing about meal planning is that it can keep your family on a budget. This is due to the fact that you’re only spending money on things you will actually need.
It’s also a great way to keep your family in shape. You can choose to plan meals around healthy options for your family. You also end up eating out less when you know that there will be food at home.
Now, this isn’t the only way to meal plan. Everyone has a different lifestyle and knows what will work for them. This is just meant to be a way to see how easy it is to get started. There are a lot of wonderful ways out there to make meal plans. As they say, there is always an app for that. The coolest app that I have found to date is Pepperplate. This app helps you keep your recipes in one place. It can make grocery lists from those recipes, as well as plan out your meals around the recipes that you want to use. It has a built in timer to assist you while cooking, and can even categorize your meals by how long it will take you to prepare it. I hope that you can find some of this process useful.
Now get cooking!
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