Why is meal planning such a chore?
Five years into meal planning and although I love the results I still sometimes drag my feet on the process. Here are a few of my tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years to make meal planning an easier process for you and your family.
1. Brainstorm a list of your favorite meals. The meals you find yourself having often, or meals that you just really enjoy but forget about on a regular basis or perhaps don’t have time to make because they take longer to prepare. Anything goes, just create a list.
2. Decide if you want to plan one week at a time, two weeks at a time or a whole month at a time. Most people start with one week and then add on from there. I now do you one month at a time but I also build flexibility into that month.
3. Think about your weekly schedule. Do you have less time certain days to make meals? Would you benefit from preparing ahead or having crockpot meals on these days? Think about how much time you have to prepare meals on any given day when you’re making your plan.
4. If you have kids consider doing a routine night every week to make things easier on yourself. We tend to do taco Tuesdays and I switch up with fish tacos or beef tacos or nachos sometimes. We also alternate our movie night meals between pizza and homemade sliders.
5. Start planning out your meals for one week. For me picking things that I know I will enjoy eating helps motivate me to cook. I also try to group things together such as roasting a whole chicken on a Monday and then having chicken pad Thai on Wednesday with the leftover chicken.
6. Now you’re ready to make your grocery list for the week. I like to jot down ideas for lunches and breakfasts to keep things streamlined at the grocery store and to keep from spending too much.
7. Congratulate yourself! You’ve just made all of your meal decisions for an entire week in one sitting so that’s less decisions you have to make at the end of the day when you’re feeling tired, cranky, dealing with the witching hour. You’re more likely to eat healthy if you already know and have the ingredients in your house for dinner that night. Bon appétit!
Next I will talk about more ways to maximize your time and budget with bulk meal planning and prep