The thought of meal planning can be overwhelming. I have put together six easy steps on how to create meal plans just for you!
Why I Create Meal Plans
Honestly, I cannot function if I do not have a meal plan. I am famous for switching out some days but overall I know what we are eating. I have tried to go with out a meal plan and it was not pretty. I have found by planning our meals there is less food waste. I never have to guess or think about what I am making for that day. It also allows me to see the big picture so I can add variety to our meals so we are not eating the same thing every week. Since I am more aware of what we are eating, I can plan healthier gluten- free and processed food free meals.
Yes, it is a lot of work at first but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. When I sit down to plan our meals, I grab a favorite beverage (hot tea, hot cocoa, etc.) to sip on. I love how planning our meals saves time in the kitchen, money in our food budget and there is less food waste.
I cannot function without a planner. I use a monthly/weekly planner for our meals, which helps me keep track of what I am making throughout the month. Then weekly/daily planner is a great tool for budgeting my time for cooking that week or day. I love being able to look at the whole month and see what we are eating.
There are digital meal planning apps that you can purchase (or some are free) that you can download on your smart phone. I prefer using old-fashioned planners that I can physically look at it.
6 Easy Steps to Create Meal Plans
- Look for recipes. This helps you to know exactly what ingredients you need for that particular dish you are making. It also helps you to know how much time it will take to make each meal.
- Ask your family what they want. I always ask my husband if he or for something in particular or what sounds good. It is a great way to get new menu ideas.
- Plan for leftovers. With just my husband and I to feed, I like to make a meal for 4 and freeze the other two portions use later in the month.
- Use grocery sale ad and digital coupons. Using your sale ad is a great tool in helping you save money. Most grocery stores have digital coupons that can help you save even more on your food bill.
- Make a list. I divide my list into fresh foods, dairy, meat, frozen, and miscellaneous. By shopping the outside perimeter it is easy for me to list items in the order of what I buy.
- Choose a shopping day. Our local grocery store offers Wednesdays as a bonus shopping day. They keep the ad prices from the last week as well as add the new prices for the current week.
Start slow. I plan for three meals a day as well as snacks. I keep my menu plans and for week 4 or 5, will take a meal or two from the previous weeks to make that menu plan. It is easy and it is a great way to use left overs.