Okay, I’m going to say something that a lot of you are not going to like to hear.
Meal planning is make or break for a well body and well mind.
Before I started meal planning sometimes meals were planned, but more often than not I would be standing in my kitchen at 5:30 trying to throw something together. After a long busy day I didn’t care if what I was making was healthy or not. Tired and frazzled, I would usually end up making something quick and easy which translated into something that was highly processed and heavy in grains. At other times we would end up eating out and I always kicked myself at the end of the meal when they brought the check. Many times the amount of the check equaled about 40% of my weekly grocery budget.
Meal planning is the most important thing you can do to ensure that you and your family are eating healthy. It is a must for not only helping my week run smooth but also helps keep my grocery budget in the black. Don’t worry, with just a little time invested each week you can set yourself up for smooth sailing at dinnertime.
I typically grocery shop on Mondays, so on Sunday evening I sit down for about ten minutes and plan out our weekly meals and at the same time make my grocery list for the next day.
- Gather your favorite cookbooks and pick out a couple new recipes you would like to try
- On one side of a piece of blank paper write out the days of the week and what you plan to eat. It’s a good idea to have your family calendar close by to reference your week. You don’t want to plan a complicated meal on a super busy night.
- As you write down your plan, flip over the piece of paper and write your grocery list on the back. This way if the store is out of something you need, or you find something else you rather have or something on sale you can easily change your meal plan.
That’s really all there is to it. It seems like such a small thing, but sitting down to do this once a week will really help relive stress at dinnertime.
- Take a look in your fridge. Anything that looks almost past its prime should be used up in Monday or Tuesdays meal.
- Spend some free time flipping through your favorite cookbooks. Use Post-it notes to flag recipes you want to try so they are easy to find on your meal planning day.
- Think seasonally. Fruits and vegetables that are currently in season will be cheaper and more nutrient dense.
- Plan crock pot meals for busy evenings.
- Remember your audience. Even if your family is great about trying new foods, try to keep a few old favorites in the week.
- If you are making a recipe from a cookbook, write the name of the cookbook and the page number on your meal plan. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to find the recipe you are looking for!
The little bit of time you spend meal planning will save you money, help your week run smoother and immensely decrease your stress at dinnertime. Totally worth it!