How To Meal Plan - In 3 Easy Steps

How To Meal Plan – In 3 Easy Steps

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Well, before you start to wonder if meal planning is for you, let me tell you there’s something for everyone.

Does the “What’s for dinner” question stress you out?

Do you run out of the ingredients when cooking your favorite meal? Whereupon, you need to rush to the grocery store to buy an ingredient or two?

Do you grab a take-out because you don’t want to deal with the lengthy cooking procedures?

Here’s a quick solution: Meal Planning

Meal Planning might sound like extra work but it’s going to make your life easier.

I’m sure, you’ve heard about many different meal planning techniques. That’s because meal planning is no one size fits all approach. What works for you might not meet someone else’s requirements.

I cannot stress enough on the fact that a little planning and prep up goes a long way in accomplishing things. Meal planning is no different.

Cooking being an inevitable part, it’s always better to simplify things for yourself, if you really want to eat at home, most days a week.  When you have a written plan, you’re encouraged to buy ingredients required for the selected recipes. And, with little prep up you’re likely to cook at home.

I use to grocery shop recklessly and come home with a lot of healthful as well as processed food ingredients. Because of the lack of planning, I couldn’t decide what to cook until it was dinner time and ended up ordering food from outside.

How To Meal Plan - In 3 Easy Steps

 

What is Meal Planning?

A meal plan is a list of weeks worth of meals.

It usually includes breakfast and dinner recipes, that you pre-plan to make in the forthcoming week. The chart works like a roadmap.

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On a weekend/weekday, you sit down for 10-15 minutes to plan meals and make a grocery list. And follow that plan, throughout the week without having to spend your time and energy to decide what to cook for dinner, every single day.

This will ensure harmonious daily routines.

Sometimes we may think having a well-stocked pantry will allow us to skip meal planning. It doesn’t work for me. It still takes up the energy to determine what to cook. It’s like “a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear” thing for me. This technique might work if you plan and prep up at least the night before.

Related: 6 Reasons You Should Start Cooking From Scratch Today

Before we start with our three-step meal planning method, if you’re a beginner, you have an additional step to do. Which I suggest you to do in your leisurely time and not at the time of meal planning.

1. Jot down all the meals that your family enjoys. (you can include breakfast recipes along with main meals)

2. From these, pick the meals that everyone likes in common, in your family.

3. Now, sort some quick and easy one-pot meal recipes out of the list. They can be your go-to recipes when you’re short on time. One-pot meals can come handy when you’ve had a long day, not feeling well or having a lazy day.

4. This list of recipes are your dinner and breakfast options which you‘ll need at the time of weekly meal planning for reference. You can get it printed or write it in a planner.

Meal Planning in Three Easy Steps:

1. Planning the meals:

Note down the meals for the week. This is the time to decide: how many meals do you want to cook in a week? Plan leftover days, full meals, quick meals, crockpot meals, and eat-outs. Example: if you want to cook 6 days a week. Aim for 3 full meals, 2 quick meal, 1 leftover day, and a day off for eat-out. For busier days, slow-cooker recipes could be very helpful. This kind of balance will help keep things interesting.

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If you have a bigger family try to incorporate everyone’s favourite meal into the week. Ask your family to suggest what would they like to have during the week?

Take into account, beans, veggies, sprouts, grains, leafy veggies, fish, chicken, eggs, meats to add variety and for a healthy balanced diet.

If you can, also plan your breakfast to start your day on a healthy note.

2. Grocery list and shopping:

Make a list of the ingredients you require to cook whole week’s meals. I recommend using Note App to quickly write down the meals and make a grocery list. Also, to avoid dealing with papers, planners, sticky notes, markers, etc., Using an app makes editing easier and saves time from rewriting the lists; and to head out to shopping with your phone conveniently.

You can group the ingredients together likes dairy stuff, veggies, spices, meats, etc., to waste no time at the grocery store.

To save money, I urge you to take an inventory before leaving to grocery shopping. Subtract the items that you already have on hand and stick to the list.

If you’re someone who likes to ‘shop on sale’ meaning shop things which are on sale in that particular week. Then, you will have to grocery shop first and make a meal plan around the items purchased.

3. Prepping up the meals:

Prepping up your meals is helping your future self. You’ll be so thankful that you did. It’s like getting a chunk of work done earlier. Which is gonna make cooking a breeze!

Being realistic with prepping up is important though. Cutting the veggies a week before and storing then in a plastic container is unhealthy. So, I suggest doing the chopping, kneading and marinating work a night before. Things like organizing the pantry and refrigerator for easy access, washing and storing fruits and veggies, dry roasting, peeling green peas, garlic, carrots, and bunching ingredients together can be done a week before.

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Final Words:

Planning meals in advance make grocery shopping and cooking at home easier. It is healthy and stress-relieving. Meal planning saves a lot of time, energy, and money.

Try to keep the meals simple and healthy. If you want to try out a new recipe, schedule it on a relaxing day. Always make sure to check your pantry and list the only items that you need to prevent wastage.

Over to you. I would love to learn more meal planning tips from you. Please leave your tips and tricks in the comment section below. Thanks for reading! And, let know if you found these tips useful.

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How To Meal Plan - In 3 Easy Steps


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