Master this age old skill with ease with my top tips and tricks for meal planning for beginners.
Meal planning for me is second nature as how can I grocery shop if I don’t know what to eat for the week; though for many this often not an easy task and a skill still to be mastered.
Benefit of Meal Planning
- You know what for dinner every night
- Buy less takeaway
- Buy less food
- Waste less food
- You make healthier choices
- It save you money
- It reduces stress and anxiety
Here are my top tips for creating a kick ass meal plan and actually sticking to it.
Establish your eating lifestyle
Are you the type of person/ family who eats out a couple of times a week (no judgement here) or do you eat at home every night, or just somewhere in between? So the aim of establishing your eating lifestyle is to know how many nights you should have a planned meal for. Creating a meal plan for that includes creating meals at home every night of the week when you don’t normally eat at home is unrealistic and this will lead to increased food waste.
Determine your budget
If you are trying to reduce spending and save money, eating more home cooked meals is a great way to save your self some money. This does not mean must be at home eat it or not socializing with friends and family (invite them over, go to theirs or have a picnic).
Determining your budget help establish the type of meals/ and recopies for the week. For example, as a general rule we have a couple nights a week that we the same or very similar staple meals that I know fit our budget and also leave room for trying new things.
Know your favorites and staple meals
Planning around our favorite and staple meals means that you know you like it and will eat it and saves time during planning. Eating the same themed meals each week gives you a good starting guide for your weekly meal plan.
We generally have one night a week for:
- Fish/ seafood
I use these as a checklist guide for meal planning for the week and this is when I choose what cut of steak, salad or vegetables etc and filling in the rest of the days with meals that we are in the mood for or eating out nights.
Check your pantry
Before I sit down to plan our meals for the week I always check what items we already have in the pantry. Do you have anything that needs to be used up?
Write your meal plan
When writing your meal plan it is important consider breakfast, lunch and dinner. We choose to eat leftovers most days and simply cook more at dinner; and breakfast is a your on your own from a choice of cereals and toast options.
Write your shopping list
Now that you have your meal planing its time to write your shopping list. Go through your plan and write down anything you need to buy to make everything on your menu plan.
Hit the shops
List in hand and a full belly it’s time to hit the shops. Make sure you stick to your list and reduce impulse buys.
Remember consistency is key to achieving success, so it this weeks or months meal plan does not work or is a struggle, don’t give up and try again. The more you do it the easier it will become.
Not to mention that you’ll be in a position to answer the age-old question of “what’s for dinner?”