Following on from my post ‘Benefits of Meal Planning’, I thought I’d share with you how to actually meal plan. I mean it’s all well and good me telling you the benefits of meal planning but if we don’t know how to do it, we can’t put it into practice!
Here are my top 5 tips for effective and stress-free meal planning.
1. Shop your cupboards and freezer first
Check what foods you already have in the house. It could be a stew or soup in the freezer that you can incorporate into the meal plan. Or if you have tins of chickpeas in the cupboard these could be used in a recipe such as hummus or a soup.
2. CHECK THE CALENDAR
For meals where you are not going to be at home, for instance like a dinner or a brunch, cross out these meals on your planner. Also check your calendar for days when you have an early meeting and you may need to take your breakfast with you. For these meals you can make a symbol so you know that when you come to fill in meals for your meal planner you need a portable option such as overnight oats for a breakfast.
3. Get the family involved
If you are creating a meal plan for the whole family, get them all involved. Ask them for ideas, get them to check their calendars too for days when they are out. Have someone write up the shopping list and go through the pantry and freezer to see what you already have to use.
4. Don’t Overwhelm Yourself With New recipes
When filling in your meal plan for the week ahead, it may be tempting to try lots of new recipes you have seen on Pinterest or in cookbooks. This leads to overwhelm and stress something that we are trying to avoid with meal planning! We don’t have time to make 21 new recipes each week. I would suggest if you want to try a new recipe, pick one for the meal plan. For the rest of the meals use recipes that you make regularly so you know they work and will be easier and quicker to prepare than new recipes. Once you’ve mastered new recipes they then can be added into your meal plan rotations.
5. make use of leftovers throughout your meal plan
I am a huge fan of using leftovers in my meal plans. They save time, cut down on food waste and take the stress away when you need a delicious meal quickly. For instance if you’re making spaghetti bolognese on the Monday evening in you meal plan, make extra sauce to enjoy for another dinner during the week.
I hope my top 5 tips for effective and stress-free meal planning have helped you. Please comment below with your tips too.
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