5 Simple Steps to Easy Meal Planning? Really? Yes I know what you’re thinking, ‘Meal Planning‘ and ‘Easy‘ don’t belong in the same sentence. But guess what? It does now. Meal planning is definitely something that takes a little bit of time and a bit of dedication, but after doing it for a couple of weeks, you honestly won’t even know how you ever made it through the week without it. This is also one of the easiest ways to save money. All of a sudden you’re not going to and from the shops 4 times a week, you have cupboards full of food that is ready to be made into a meal and wasting food because it went out of date tends to not happen, like ever.
Food is one of those things that everybody needs, and you’re always going to have to spend money on it. So why not take control of that, otherwise you could be wasting hundreds every year on wasted food and take outs. Not only that but without a properly planned diet bad eating habits become your worst enemy. Alas, not all is lost, I’ve given you 5 Simple Steps to get you Meal Planning like a Pro!
- Make a list of all the meals you love and other recipes you’d like to try. Gather as many ideas as you can so you have a great go-to list of dinner ideas. Scour through recipe books and if you’re cooking for a family then get the family together and share ideas. Including your family in the process can help make meal planning a breeze and placing your meal plan somewhere for everyone to see in the home is a must! My husband and I leave our weekly meal plan on the fridge so at a glance we can see what we’re going to be eating that night, which makes meal times something to really look forward to, instead of dreading the thought of trying to come up with something to eat.
- List the ingredients for each meal. This part is optional, but for those who want to be super organised and often forget ingredients whilst shopping this can really help. Maybe write down all the ingredients you need for each meal on flash cards, on your phone or anywhere that is convinient for you. This will help when it comes to creating your shopping list because you already know all the ingredients you need for each meal, hence forgeting something whilst shopping will be a thing of the past!
- Work out how far ahead you want your meal plan to be. Are you planning a week at a time? 2 weeks? 5 days? Whatever your time scale, work it out. I like to work week by week, simply because fresh food doesn’t last that long, but if you’re into monthly shopping and like to prepare in bulk and freeze a lot of your meals then that’s fine too! Everyone is different and so it may take a couple of go’s before you get it figured out, which is completely fine!
- Now pick the same number of meals to match the number of days you’re shopping for. And remember if you don’t want to, you don’t necessarily have to assign a meal for a specific day. I like to pick 7meals for 7days and then be able to pick freely which meal I’m in the mood for or go in the order of which ingredients go out of date first, that way I’m cutting back on the amount of food I’d be wasting through the week too! Sometimes after I shop and I know the use by dates of the veggies and meat etc I will assign a meal to a night then.
- Now create your shopping list! The first few times I was doing grocery shopping I found myself going up and down the aisles multiple times because I kept forgetting things on the list that where in the same area as each other . Now I try to keep dairy food together on my list, canned food listed together and meat listed together and so on and so on. Don’t forget to take into consideration enough food for the week for lunches or breakfast too (Of course if you want to make a plan for breakfast lunch and dinner then go ahead! The more planning the better!)
And there you have it! That’s how easy meal planning is. And if you’re like me then obviously you have to have a stack of great stationary to help out with all your organisation. Personally I use a range of stationary from Kikki.K.
Amazing Dinner Planner and handy perforated ‘to buy’ section:
I know, cute stationary right? Anyways back to the main point, don’t be afraid of meal planning. Once you start you’ll never go back, and once you get the hang of it, planning your meals out becomes an ease. Let me know how you plan your meals out in the comments! 🙂