Meal planning. The concept seems so simple, yet can be very daunting when you’re up to your ears in Tupperware and can’t possibly seem to find the time to make a grocery store run.
It may appear easier to revert back to the old ways of winging it during the week, but trust us when we say meal planning will make eating healthy much easier and save your sanity down the road. Here are 5 tips to implement to actually make planning and meal prep a staple of your weekly routine.
Step 1 – Dedicate the time.
Dedicate a specific time each week (preferably a consistent time) for meal planning, grocery shopping, and prepping (at least a little bit) in advance. This will save you time and money during the week.
Step 2 – Create and save meal ideas.
Look through your cabinets to see what ingredients you already have and check what’s on sale at your grocery store to get the wheels turning on what to cook for the week. Also, use Pinterest, cookbooks, and other websites to bookmark your favorite recipes. All these tools can help you come up with ideas for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. If it helps you, write out which days you will eat which meals.
Remember: it’s okay to repeat some meals during the week. Keep it simple by having similar breakfasts during the week, or making extras at dinner for lunch the next day.
Step 3 – Make a list.
Using your meal ideas as an outline, create a list of the items you still need (remember to check if you have any of the ingredients already before you go!) Make sure you write down amounts from the recipes so you don’t buy too much extra.
Step 4 – Hit the store.
Now that you have your list, make a trip to the store and vow to only buy what’s on your list. (I dare you!) Easier said than done, but if you have it written down already you’ll be more likely to stick to only what you need.
Step 5 – Prep a few items.
Cooking protein ahead of time (don’t forget the spices – here are 6 you definitely need to have on hand), chopping vegetables so they’re ready to be cooked, or putting together lunches in separate containers so they’re all ready to go are all time savers once the week gets under way.
There you have it, 5 easy ways to make sure you’re set up for success! Now it’s your turn – give meal planning a try this week and let us know how it goes by leaving a comment or tagging #FFCChicago!
Post written by FFC Registered Dietitian Amy Silver.