Do you need help getting started when it comes to planning meals? I’ve broken the process down into four basic steps so that you can begin having success now.
STEP 1: Choose Recipes
- To start meal planning for the first time, write down a list of the dinners you already make. If you want to try new recipes choose one new recipe per week.
- If any of the recipes are freezable, mark that beside them. (If you pick just one of your recipes each week to double you’ll have four “freezer meals” ready to go each month!)
- When choosing recipes, don’t forget to check your pantry, fridge and freezer for any food that you already have so that it won’t go to waste.
- You don’t need to choose 30 different dinners! Meals can be eaten more than once throughout the month,
STEP 2: Schedule the Meals
- Look at the calendar. What does your week/month look like? If there is one night each week that you have an evening commitment, choose a meal that is appropriate to that. If there is a day when you will be out of the house, plan a slow cooker meal to be waiting for you at home.
- Consider weekly themes: One way to make meal planning less overwhelming is to choose themes. So maybe every Monday is a chicken dish, Tuesday is always tacos, Wednesday is a pasta dish, Thursday is something with beef, Friday is a pizza night, etc.
- After you have your list of recipes (it can be just a piece of paper on your fridge!), you have two choices. You can assign them to a specific day, or spontaneously choose one of the meals each day, checking them off as they’re made so you know those ingredients are used up. Either way, keep your list out where you can see it! (I use this magnetic calendar)
STEP 3: Shop your plan
- Look through your pantry, fridge and freezer to see what you already have and then make a list of what you need then head to the store!
STEP 4: Make it Work!
- At night before you head to bed check your list so you know what you’ll be eating the next day, and if there is anything that needs to thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Consider doing some prep work at the beginning of the week to make mid week cooking easier. (Even just putting frozen meat into the fridge for the coming week can be a big help)
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