One of the best ways I like to simplify life, is meal planning.
Making dinner each night is just one of those tasks I used to dread. I hated coming home after a long day at work and having to figure out what to cook. I often found myself having to not only stop at the store often, but grabbing quick and convenient food, that is (let’s be honest) not always the best for us.
Meal planning allows you to make healthier options ahead of time, which helps you to avoid the quick “drive-thru” temptation. Meal planning also saves you money, because you can buy in bulk or shop deals. And last, but not least, meal planning allows you to spend more time with your family. I love coming home and quickly being able to throw dinner in the oven or have it ready to go in the slow cooker. It gives me that extra time with my girls.
I know what you’re thinking, meal planning sounds great…but… I have no clue where to start!
You may have seen website which tell you how to meal plan for a whole month, or prep 20 freezer meals in 1 hour – but the tasks seem so daunting. My advice to you.. start small. With any new skill, it will take time and a little trial and error. That’s ok! we are not perfect. Below I have a quick guide on how to get started meal planning. I suggest start by weekly meal planning and work your way up. Check out the tips below!
A Quick Guide to Meal Planning:
Check your kitchen! Every week this should be your FIRST stop in planning. See what protein or freezer meals that you already have in your freezer. Next check your cupboards to see what staples you already have on hand. These ingredients should help be the basis of your week’s recipes. Why not use up what you already have?
Check local sales! Go online and check your local supermarket ads and see if there are any sales on protein. If so, stock up and freeze!
Create your menu! Print off a blank calendar. Start with just a week at a time planning if you are a beginner. As you get comfortable, you can go move up to planning for every two weeks. Mark of days that you know you will be out of the house, have kid’s activities, or need “grab & go” meal ideas.
- Start by picking out your favorite recipes and pick out a meal idea for each day of the week. You can even add lunch ideas to this as well. Don’t forget to incorporate the ingredients that you already have!
Shop & Prep! Make a list to help you stay on point during your shopping trip. Don’t forget coupons!
- Once you get home, prep and freeze what you can. (Marinate protein? Pre-chop veggies? etc.)
It really can be that simple! Make sure to check out all my time-saving recipes throughout the site to get easy mealtime inspiration!