Meal planning is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle, but it can also be one of the most daunting. When you're trying to figure out what to make for dinner every night, it can be tough to stay on track and avoid resorting to unhealthy choices. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of meal planning and how to simplify the process so you can stick to your goals. I'll also share a few of my own tips and tricks for how to meal plan like a pro!
The benefits of meal planning:
One of the biggest benefits of meal planning is that it can save you time and money. When you have a plan for what you're going to make for dinner, you can shop for ingredients in bulk and avoid making last-minute trips to the grocery store. Meal planning can also help you stick to your diet or eating goals, whether you're trying to lose weight, eat more healthfully, or simply save time on cooking and cleanup.
Another great benefit of meal planning is that it allows you to be more flexible with your time. If you know what you're going to make for dinner ahead of time, you can easily adjust your schedule to accommodate a busy night or unexpected event. And if you have leftovers from previous meals, you can easily incorporate them into your next meal plan!
How to simplify the process of meal planning:
If you're new to meal planning, start by picking one day each week to sit down and plan out your meals. Make a list of all the recipes you want to make, then create a shopping list of all the ingredients you'll need. Once you have everything you need, cook up a storm and enjoy the fruits of your labor! You'll be surprised at how much simpler your life becomes when you have a plan for dinner.
I've developed a little system that helps me plan my meals for the week in just a few simple steps:
1. Plan your week:
The first step is to plan your week. I like to sit down on Sunday and map out what I'm going to eat for each meal, taking into account any special events or plans I have for the week. This helps me know what I need to buy at the grocery store and also gives me a chance to look through my recipes and make sure I have everything I need on hand.
2. Gather recipes:
Once you have your meals planned out, it's time to gather your recipes. If you're like me and love trying new things, this is a great time to peruse your cookbooks or food blogs and find some new dishes to try. If you're not in the mood for anything new, that's OK too! Just pull out your tried-and-true favorites and make a list of the ingredients you'll need.
3. Prepare your shopping list:
Now that you know what you're going to be cooking, it's time to make your shopping list. I like to do this as I'm gathering my recipes so I don't forget anything. Once you have everything on your list, it's time to hit the grocery store!
4. Start cooking:
Once you have all your ingredients, it's time to start cooking. If you can, try to prepare some meals in advance so that you're not starting from scratch every night. This can be as simple as prepping some vegetables or cooking a batch of rice that you can use throughout the week. And if there are any dishes that freeze well, go ahead and make a double batch so you can have a quick and easy meal on hand for busy weeknights.
A few extra tips:
-I always find that leftovers are my best friend when it comes to weekday lunches. Planning ahead by making a little extra at dinner can help you save both money and time during the week!
-Another great tip is to utilize your slow cooker or Instant Pot. There are so many great recipes out there that you can make in advance and have ready to go for those nights when you don't feel like cooking.
-If you're really struggling to find the time to meal plan, there are some great meal delivery services out there that can do all the work for you. Just enter your dietary preferences and they'll send you everything you need to make delicious meals at home.
By following these simple tips, you'll be well on your way to becoming a meal planning pro! And trust me, once you see how much easier it is to get dinner on the table during the week, you'll never go back to your old ways. I hope these tips have inspired you to meal plan and if you need some help getting started, be sure to download our free Meal Planner list. Give it a try and let me know how it goes! I'm sure you'll be hooked in no time. :)
Do you have any other tips for meal planning? Leave them in the comments below!
Happy cooking! :)