This post is about how I meal plan.
If you have never done meal planning before then this is the perfect how-to for you.
You will need four things to start (you can build on this later)
STEP 1 - Review your week in advance
It will ensure your plan aligns with any social activity you have planned for the week.
You may have dinner at your parents, lunch with clients at work or a date with your partner. On those occasions you will not need a planned meal. This will also help eliminate money spent on food that will go off if not eaten, but also no food waist at the end of the week.
STEP 2 - Review your stock
Take stock of all freezer, fridge and pantry food items. You need to do this once and then update every time you meal plan.
This activity will save you money at the check out counter!
Once you do this you will notice how many ingredients you already have at home for great recipes. The stock list gives me the ability to use up what I already have and only stock up on what is missing.
Another fun way to do this is to get some printable templates to fill in and reprint every week.
I found a really fun one on "The Organised Housewife" site: Freezer inventory printable
STEP 3 - Pick the meals for the week
Considering your schedule/calendar this week and your kitchen stock, you can now create your menu.
Things to consider when planning:
Will you have time to prepare a meal every night
Do you have special recipes your family like on specific nights
Are you counting calories
Do you have a new recipe you'd like to try
Are you planning for you or for the whole family
Are you planning dinners only or all the meals and snacks
Based on my criteria I have decided on the following menu for the week:
Breakfast - Overnight oats with strawberries and blueberries
Lunches - Asian inspired coleslaw salad; Tuna and Quinoa salad
Dinners - butter chicken with veggies; beef steak with veggies
STEP 4 - Write shopping list
Once you have your plan and stock, this weeks shopping list should now only include the things you need.
Hopefully you are able to re-use some of the food already in your pantry.
STEP 5 - Display meal plan on fridge
You should write out your meal plan onto a piece of paper or the template pictured above. Once completed you need to stick it up in your kitchen.
By displaying the meal plan in your kitchen it will ensure that if you are running late from work and anyone in the family can get a head start with the recopies, even if you are running late.
STEP 6 - Go Shopping
STEP 7 - OPTIONAL Meal Prep
Depending on my schedule for the week I usually prep food in advance. So at any given time I have frozen healthy meals ready to warm up and eat. This helps me with self control when I'm short on time to eat healthy and not opt for the take away menu.
I hope this helps you get started on your healthy life style journey.