Is “what’s for dinner?” a question you are often asked? Are your grocery bills higher than you would like them to be? Do you find yourself throwing out bad produce and expired goods? If yes, then you need to devise a plan, that’s right, A MEAL PLAN!
We have all different needs, different family sizes, different diets, different schedules, but the one thing we have in common, is that we need to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So, how do we do that, you ask? I am going to break it down for you.
Find a planning tool.
Are you the old school type, you know, the type that prefers paper? Then grab a meal planning pad like this one from Amazon.
If you’re tech-saavy, then you can use Pinterest as your main planning base, to collect and sort your recipes for the week.
If you’re type-A, then you would LOVE this friendly binder to organize your recipes and make meal planning easier for you. It seems like a lot of work initially, but once it is all filled out, it will make the task of planning easier.
Pick a day to plan.
Now that you figured out HOW you are going to plan your meals, the next step is to figure out WHEN. So ask yourself this:
- Which day of the week do you go grocery shopping? Aim to have your plan completed before you go to the store. Example: I go to the stores on Monday, so by Sunday I will have my meal plan completed.
Narrow down what is important to you? Is it your diet, budget, ease, minimal food waste, etc.?
Once you figure out what is most important to you, you will use those factors when structuring your plan. I personally don’t like to waste food, so I try and think about which meals I can make with what I already have in my house first, then I will think of stuff I need to buy.
As a dietitian, I always have health in mind, so that kinda comes natural to me.
Budgeting has been a struggle for me lately. I set a specific amount I would like to spend each week. To stick to this budget, I look at the local weekly ads to see where I can find the cheapest stuff and plan meals based on sales. I also keep tally of how much I spend by writing it down on the white board on my fridge.
Being a mother to a toddler makes cooking a challenge at times, so ease is also an important factor for me. I need meals for all three of us, and ones that I can cook quickly. There are days when I have to prep early on and then cook a little later because I just don’t have the time to do it all at once.
We all have different schedules and different priorities, so we have to find what works for us as individuals, this is usually achieved by trial and error.
WHAT do you need to plan?
Do you work and bring breakfast and lunch with you on a daily basis? Do you stay at home and can eat leftovers the day after for lunch? Do you travel at work and need something on the go? Do you eat together as a family every night for dinner?
Sit down and figure out which meals you need to plan for. For me, the more I plan, the better I can keep within my budget.
I run a *FREE Meal Planning FaceBook Group, join me here for more meal planning tips and recipes.