Trying to save money or avoid food waste? Learn how to be a better meal planner and make meal planning easier with these 5 tips.
Meal planning is an essential part of cooking. Whether you’re trying to save money or avoid food waste, it all comes back to meal planning. However, planning meals and following through with a meal plan are two different stories. When I sit down to plan my meals, I’m eager to go through my recipe binder and flip through cookbooks to find fun new recipes. But when it comes time to cook, I’m always searching through my list of meals to find the easiest thing to make instead. If this sounds like you to, I’m going to show you how you can be a better meal planner.
How to Be a Better Meal Planner
In order to be a better meal planner, there are a few simple things that you can do to make it easier for you.
1. Don’t overdo it
One of the biggest mistakes a newbie meal planner will make is going crazy with planning. If you don’t get up at the same time every day, trying to plan breakfast will be a nightmare. Instead of planning long, intense meals for every part of the day, focus solely on dinners at first. Make your lunches and breakfasts something easy you can rotate, and not have to think about. Putting all your planning efforts into one meal will help you stick with your meal plan, and keep you on track.
2. Start simple
While Pinterest has certainly helped when it comes to dinner ideas, it also makes our meals seem a little dull. If you are struggling with meal planning, it’s probably because the meals you’re planning are too complicated. Start with simple, easy, and quick meals. It’s better to get something on the table than nothing. There are tons of 15-30 minute meal options out there that are just as tasty as the rest. We have loads of recipes in our archives that you might like.
3. Be Realistic
If you need to be at the school at 5 pm then dance at 6:30, you probably don’t have a lot of time to get dinner on the table. If you are at home all day with a big open schedule, then sure, you have more time to work with. While a particular grocery item may be on sale, or versatile, it won’t do you any good if you don’t have time to make it. Evaluate your time and commitments before putting together your meal plan to make sure you’re not overextending yourself.
4. Write it down
Meal planning will do you no good if you don’t remember what you planned! Find a cute printable, download ours for free (at the bottom of this post), or just a piece of paper, and write it down! Be sure also to include your grocery list to avoid forgetting something while you’re out. This may seem so simple, but by the end of the week, you won’t remember what you had planned.
5. Shop your stock
The first place your meal plan should take you is your kitchen. Before you start creating these bold meal plans, start by looking through what you already have! You may be shocked to find you everything you need to put together a meal right now, in your own home. If you don’t, maybe you have pieces of a meal. For example, if you have ground beef and green peppers, you can quickly put together stuffed peppers! Be creative, and look for new ways to use what’s in your home.
Meal planning doesn’t have to be hard! If you follow these tips, you’ll be planning like a pro in no time at all.