Meal Plan Tips and Tricks

Meal Plan Monday

 

Since I’m still working on the meal plan that I put together for last week, this week I wanted to share some tips and tricks for making your meal planning a little easier. I want this to be as quick and painless as possible for you. Meal planning doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow a few steps.

  • Work with what you have– Look at the meat in your freezer and fresh ingredients that you have on hand that need to be used more quickly. Plan recipes accordingly. Pinterest is a great tool to utilize, because you can find recipes by just typing in a few ingredients. I also like to use All Recipes, because they actually have a place where you type in ingredients and it brings up a list of recipes for you.
  • Put your recipes in order– Depending on how far in advance you make your meal plan, you’ll want to use up your fresh ingredients first. Recipes including things like avocados will need to be made first.
  • Know what your days look like– For example, I know we have church on Wednesdays so I plan meals with easier cleanup or quicker cooking times. I like crock pot meals, quick and easy ones, or even just plan on having leftovers. Sometimes I even make extra food on Tuesdays so I can be sure to have leftovers. My Hubby is off on Fridays so I like to spend less time in the kitchen. I try to make Friday’s meals easier or plan our takeout nights on this day. Knowing ahead of time what my week will look like makes my meal planning much simpler!
  • Make your ingredient list– Take all of the recipes you’re going to make, and write down all of the ingredients you need to PURCHASE. Double check so you won’t be running to the store multiple times. The less store runs you have to make, the more money you’ll save.
  • Put your list in order– This may sound a little OCD of me, but I then take my ingredient list and put the items in order by how I walk by them in the store. I’ve been grocery shopping enough times to know which aisle is where. I put the items in order, so I can grab them in order, making my shopping trip much more quick and efficient. This saves me a lot of time and actually helps me to forget less items on my list.
  • Prep ahead of time– If you want to save yourself even more time during the week, do some of your prep work on day 1. Chop veggies. Separate meat. Marinade a day early. If you don’t like spending a lot of time in your kitchen at dinner time, do as much ahead of time as you can.
  • Enlist help from your littles– My little guy is at the age where he likes to help in the kitchen. He can chop softer veggies, help measure, and mix like a champ. Sometimes we can make it into a learning activity where we both get something out of it. Kids can make good kitchen helpers- and I dream of someday when he’ll be making ME dinner. {Bonus- he is more willing to try more new things if he has helped me cook them!}
  • Don’t beat yourself up– If you fall behind on your meal plan or have to order out because you just can’t deal with dinner one night, don’t be too hard on yourself. You can make that meal later. To be honest, I still haven’t made Friday’s meal because we had leftovers and then Saturday I had a migraine. That meal will get mixed in there another day or those ingredients will get folded over into another meal. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK if it doesn’t happen exactly how you planned.

I hope these little tips and tricks help! I’m really enjoying meal-planning along with you! Please let me know if you have anymore great tips!

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