Meal Planning Made Easy: 5 Simple Steps to Easy Meal Planning
Written by Valerie Rath from The Kitchen Revival
Meal planning is an essential step in eating healthy and staying on or creating a budget. When you have a plan, you know what you need to buy when you shop for your groceries for the week. Without a plan, you are more likely to make impulse buys. There are many different ways to meal planning and everyone has their own system. Over the years I have created my own easy steps for weekly meal planning.
So lets get started! Grab a cup of tea and pull up a chair and lets talk meal planning!
Create A System That Works For You – This may take a little bit of experimenting to see what works for you, but try and determine the best day to plan out your meals. For me, I usually try to work on our menu for the next week on Thursday’s because Friday is usually when we do our grocery shopping. There are some people that like to plan out their menu plans for a month. That may work for some, but weekly is what works for us.
My planning usually begins by taking inventory of what we have on hand and then go from there.
Take Inventory – This is how I start my meal plan. I start by taking a look at the foods we already have, especially paying the most attention to the produce. This will help you determine what you need and don’t need more of and will also help you decide the kinds of meals to plan for the week. Then I take a look at my recipe binder and stash and plan out the rest of my meals.
Write Down Your Meal Plan – Write down your meal plan and post it somewhere where your family can see it. This will help you to stick with the plan you created. You don’t have to use anything fancy to write down your meal plan. I usually just write mine down on a half piece of paper and stick it on the fridge. But if you would like to use something a little nicer there are lots of menu planning printables that you can find on Pinterest. Another fun option would be to use a chalk board.
Keep a Recipe Collection – It can be so easy to get stuck in a rut when meal planning. I usually don’t have this problem though because if you saw my massive recipe stash you would know why! But, I recommend introducing or trying at least one new recipe a week. You can find lots of great recipes in Cookbooks, magazines, Pinterest, and your favorite blogs. I also have a binder and a stack full of recipes that I have found over the years or have created myself.
Make Your Shopping List – The very last step in meal planning is making your shopping list. Just take a look at all the recipes you are planning to use for the week and write down the items that you need or are out of. Now, this may sound crazy and I don’t expect anyone to create their grocery list like I do. But I usually create my grocery list according to the store layout. Sometimes I just get so distracted so having my grocery list organized that way helps me to stay focused, stay on track, and not forget anything. It also makes grocery shopping easier and quicker too!
I hope these five easy tips will help you with getting started with meal planning!