Well, now that there has been a little intro into meal planning, I am going to get more into specifics. Everyone has a “why” right? My “why” is to get healthier, watch my portions, save grocery money, and eventually, use it as a weight loss tool. What is your “why?” Do you want to lose/gain weight? Save money? Create a healthier lifestyle? Whatever your reason, think about that when planning your meals.
Now that you know your “why,” let’s discuss the how. This may be very easy for some people. For those who have a hard time organizing their thoughts or just want to hear my method, this one is for you!
1. Go to the Home page and print the blank meal planning excel document located on the right side of the screen. I really cannot take credit for this one, I stumbled on this blank document on Microsoft Excel. I just change the colors to make it look pretty!
2. Start picking out meals that would be easy and delicious. Breakfast and lunch are easier to throw on autopilot and make the same thing 3 or 4 days in a row. Dinner seems to be the meal that I have a hard time eating over and over again. If lunch is still hard to stomach eating the same thing, use dinner leftovers for lunch.
3. Once all meals are all picked out, scour those cabinets, the refrigerator and freezer. Find what you have and what you will need. Don’t forget things like spices or other dry ingredients. I have a strong tendency to forget these until I am in the middle of the recipe and then I’m packing the kids up in the car to run to the store to get a packet of taco seasoning!
4. If you know you will be using a lot of one product, it may be more cost efficient to buy in bigger quantities. Watch your sales and coupons.
5. Pick 1 or 2 days to make your meals. I prefer to make dinner every couple days but I use Sundays to throw together lunches and breakfast sandwiches that I can put in the fridge or freezer and pull out when I need one. Use this time to portion out your snacks into smaller containers. Don’t forget things like hummus, peanut butter, yogurt, etc. This makes it easier to grab a healthy snack as opposed to stopping at Tim Horton’s for a donut!
6. Once your meals are made, portion them into containers so you can grab them out of the fridge as you are running out the door.
Those are your basics! It’s not too hard, it just takes a bit more time and planning. Fortunately, it can free up time throughout the week. Sounds like a good plan!
Extra tips I have picked up along the way:
-Shop any sales. Sometimes it is better to go to a couple stores than shop in one place.
-Utilize your freezer. Stock up on meat when it is on sale and throw it in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Make double the recipe on recipes you use frequently and throw the access in the freezer for a day you don’t feel like cooking.
-Make dump meals. (I will be making a post about these wonderful and easy meals soon.) The crock pot is such a great tool to cut down on cooking time in the kitchen.
Last, but not least, don’t overwhelm yourself! Don’t fill your week with new recipes every night. This can get expensive and burn you out before you get a chance to really get moving. I have run into this problem a couple times. Instead, stick to a few recipes you are used to cooking and throw one in that you’ve never made before.
Comments? Questions? Something to add? I love them all! Hit me up on facebook at Coffee, Kids and Yoga Pants or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, thanks for reading,