Meal planning is the perfect way to reduce stress doing the week, save money and stop wasting food. I’m a huge fan of meal planning, and it helps me so much to take the time to do a weekly meal plan where I plan everything from breakfast to snacks.
So, let’s talk about what meal planning can do for you.
Planning your meals in advance (and thus your shopping) can save you so much money. When you enter the store you know exactly what you need, and you have the advantage to be able to plan your meals around what’s on sale. I always go online and check the stores sales for the week, so I know what I can get cheap (this also let me bulk buy stuff I need regularly like canned stuff). You’re also less likely to be tempted when you have a list and a plan, and can save money on those spur of the moment buys, not to mention that when buying when hungry we tend to go for easy options which is often more expensive.
Meal planning might take a bit of time on the day you plan (I like to do it Sunday) but it can save you so much time on the long run. Not only do it cut down on the time spend shopping during the week, it also cut down on time trying to figure out what the hell to eat for dinner/lunch/breakfast.
Meal planning can help you cut down on food waste. You can plan the first few meals from what’s left in your fridge, and the rest can be planned using the ingredient you buy (say one day you need half a cabbage head for a stew, then you can use the other half for coleslaw another night)
So how to do it?
I use this template to do my meal planning. Once I know exactly what I’m making and eating it’s easy to make a shopping list. Just remember to check your freezer, fridge and cupboards. That way you minimize waste, and never run out of the stuff you use every day.
As you can see in this template it runs through a lot of the same thing during a week. Especially salads is something you can “reuse”, meaning you prep for three big salads at the beginning of the week and then just put all three salads on the table for each meal. When one salad runs out you prepare a new one. It minimize the amount of different greens and make cooking easy.
Once I have the meal plan written down I make a list with everything I need for each meal (like looking a recipes) and everything extra needed. In my house we use a LOT of milk, and I often have to go out shopping milk around Thursday because my fridge can’t hold enough for a whole week. I also know that when I have the kids we need candy for Friday night.
Once you’ve made meal plans for a few week, you start to know exactly what amounts you need of different products and it becomes a lot easier to plan.
I really recommend everyone to give it a try, as it makes life so much easier.