Do you dread meal planning each week? Here are some easy tips to make this “chore” become a choice you look forward to completing each week or month.
- Get organized; organization looks different for everyone so choose a schedule that works for you
- Purchase quality and colorful storage containers; this will make it more enjoyable
- Stock up your pantry with whole grains, bulgur, oats, whole wheat pasta, quinoa and brown rice
- Keep a variety of spices
- Include each food group on your plan; keep it healthy but reasonable
- Check your grocery store sales; you may want to adjust your meal plan to include sale items
- Check the weather so you can plan accordingly, such as cooking soups on rainy days or lighter meals on hot days
- Batch cook or complete multiple steps (cutting up veggies) on one night when you have more time, which will help on those crazy busy nights you don’t have time
- Plan freezer meal prep with your family and friends. You can complete 8 to 12 meals in just a few hours. It’s a great way to enjoy time together, share recipe ideas and get meals in the freezer.
- Journal! This is not a journal on your calories, but rather a meal journal. Record your meals in a journal or keep your meal plans and rotate each month or quarter or whatever works for you.
- Prep food when you get home from the grocery store: wash fruits, and wash and cup up vegetables needed for the next 2 to 3 days. This is a huge time saver!
- Don’t overbuy. Meal prep should help you save money. Cluttered refrigerators can be overwhelming and are more prone to waste.
If you choose to try these meal planning tips, you may reap these benefits.
- Eat real food; less chance of eating processed foods
- Save money
- Increase variety; planning will help you look at the “bigger picture” and include different foods
- Less stress as you know what you are making each day/night
- New recipes; try one a week or one a month, whatever works for you
- Meal planning takes a little time, but in the long run you will save time
Enjoy! With a little practice, meal planning can become a part of your normal schedule.