Updated: May 12
These 10 tips for meaI planning are something I wish somebody had shared with me.
Meal planning is fun but I remember feeling frazzled every time I would sit down to plan and prepare my meals and shopping list.
Well, not anymore! These 10 tips for meal planning have made my life so much easier and I am so excited to share them with you!
But before we get to the good stuff, let's keep in mind 10 tips to make this a fun and relaxing adventure.
1.Eat before you shop:
I cannot stress this enough... EAT before you leave the house. Whatever you do, do not walk into that supermarket on an empty stomach. You will end up buying things you don't need.
2. Stick to the list:
Stick to the list at hand.Try to focus on your goal for the week. Most of the things we think we want, we don't. stick to the list and if you still feel like you would have liked that ingredient then include it in your next week's meal plan.
3. Simple Cooking:
Keep your dishes simple. The more elaborate the cooking, the more money you'll spend on the ingredients. You'll also end up with more clutter in your Pantry. It's always nice to try new dishes and especially the ones that look so good on social media. Stick to simple dishes during the week and a bonus meal on the weekends.
Use the leftovers. Before you go shopping, first make sure to shop your refrigerator and Pantry. Try to finish the leftovers that are perishable and then shop for the remaining ingredients. A simple example would be to make fried rice with leftover veggies or vegetable pulao if you're missing soy sauce. And if you have neither, just boil the veggies and blend for soup.
5. Keeping a record:
Keep a record of your previous meal plans until it becomes second nature to you. I keep a file with the last 8 meal plans in Cello Sleeves. Once you have a feel for how your meal plan works with your family you won't need to keep the old ones. Until then, it's a great tool.
6. Plan around discounts and sales:
If possible, plan your meals around sales. I live in Germany so I always check the Aldi or LIDL online discounts to see what goes on sale when. This way I can plan 2 weeks in advance.
7. Common ingredients:
Plan meals in such a way that they use common ingredients. For e.g, Tomatoes on sale? Great! You can make salsa, Bolognese,Tomato soup etc. Mince on sale? You can make bolognese, meatballs, Burgers and so on. Freeze what doesn't fit in that week's plan and you've got freezer meals for when you want to take a week off.
8. Check the Calendar:
Do not forget to check the family Calendar. Check for Birthdays, Anniversaries and any other social engagements.I have made this mistake a couple of times and ended up with a fridge full of prepared meals with no one to eat them.
9. Plan the Plan:
Plan your Meal Plan. Set aside a bit of time every week to sit down and plan. Ask your hubby to mind the kids or do it when they're asleep. This way you will have time to flip through the previous meal plans if you've filed them . Either way, having a bit of peace and quiet to meal plan allows you to be thorough.
10. Have fun:
Remember that meal planning like many other things in life, is a process. Enjoy the journey and have fun with it. It's something that takes time and consistency. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be.
Now that we have tackled our 10 tips to Meal Planning success, let me share with you some tools I use that have helped me immensely. They are absolutely free to download.