Why Meal Plan?
Do you meal plan? This can be a great way to not only organize your life, but to also save some money! Meal planning helps you to not have to worry about what you’re going to eat for dinner when you get out of work, and helps to avoid the quick decision of getting take out because it’s easier.
How to Meal Plan
- Pick a day where you have some time to sit down and figure out your meals for the week. Sunday works well for me. It typically will take me no more than 30 minutes. (It would be way less if I didn’t have a dairy allergy! This makes it a bit more challenging to find recipes that work for me and my family.
- Decide how many meals you’d like to cook for the week. I generally plan for 4 or 5.
- I browse the internet & Pinterest for recipes that are easy and also don’t require a lot of ingredients. You can search, “5 Ingredient Recipes” which will also pop up a ton of yummy stuff that’s generally easy to make. You can also refer to any cookbooks that you may have laying around.
- I then make 2 separate lists. One list with the 5 Meals that I’m going to make. The second list with the ingredients that I need to purchase.
- Sometimes you can get multiple recipes from very little ingredients. For example, let’s say you cook a whole chicken on Monday and know that you’ll have leftover chicken. You can use that leftover chicken to make another meal such as a Chicken Noodle Soup, Chicken Quesadillas, a Chicken Salad or even some Chicken fried rice! Planning this out in advance makes it a lot easier and also helps you to minimize food waste.
- Now that I have all of my meals planned and the ingredients that I need to purchase written down, I go to the grocery store and purchase the items. I mainly try to stick to the list I have written down, but sometimes will buy some extra produce for snacks and breakfast, depending what’s on sale. I also find that going to the store by myself and when I’m not hungry helps me to stick to my list!
- I then post my menu for the week on the refrigerator. When Monday arrives, instead of having to worry about getting to the store and figuring out what we’re going to have for dinner, I can have my family choose one of the items off the menu.
Sample Meal Plan
Your meal plan doesn’t have to be extravagant, it can be very simple. Here’s an example of what my typical menu for the week might look like in the summer.
- Hamburgers on the grill with broccoli
- Chicken Thighs marinated in Italian dressing cooked on the grill with Rice, Zucchini & Squash
- Pasta with Kielbasa, Baby Spinach and Garlic
- Blackened Chicken Wraps
- Homemade Pizza
As you can see these items require very little ingredients and are easy to make! Make meal planning a family affair. Get your kids involved, you’ll be surprised at the ideas they come up with! Also, don’t feel like you HAVE to follow a recipe. Be creative and make up your own.