Make Meal Planning a Priority in 2018
Who’s tired of stressing about what’s for dinner every night?
With 2018 just around the corner, the chances are good that you’ve got healthy eating and less stress at the top of your resolutions list. Which is exactly why we’ve teamed up with our friends at Verizon Wireless to bring you these 7 Steps for Mastering Meal Planning in 2018. Meal planning is one of the biggest keys to our own healthy eating ‘successes’ and how we keep our grocery budget in check each week.
If you’re new to meal planning, don’t worry. Like most things around here, we keep it really simple because we want you to succeed, too. And if you’re a meal planning pro who needs a little post-holiday inspiration to get you back on track then we think this post is right up your alley as well (because we can all use a little nudge from time to time).
So without further ado, here’s our 7 Steps for Mastering Meal Planning in 2018
1. Take inventory – Before deciding on what to add to your meal plan, take a quick inventory of what you already have on hand. Doing this will remind you of what you have on hand and as a result, you’ll reduce food waste and save money.
2. Carve out time each week for creating a meal plan – Grab your calendar (paper or digital) and take note of the events happening that week. Need a super quick meal on Wednesday night? Plan for a slow cooker meal. Need an even quicker meal on Thursday night? Plan to use leftovers or pull something from the freezer for a ‘reheat and eat’ meal that’s ready in minutes. Pencil in the meals you plan to make that week keeping in mind how much time you’ll have each night to prepare dinner. Which brings up our next point…
3. Be realistic – Choose just a handful of recipes to start with. Three to five recipes is a good place to start depending on how much time you’ve set aside for your prep session. This should get you through a good portion of the week – say, Thursday – before you’ll need to do another mini-prep or start relying on some of the meals you’ve stashed away in the freezer (or some of these quick Instant Pot meals!)
4. Make a shopping list – Now that you have your meal plan set and stone and you know what’s on the menu for the week, it’s time to create your shopping list. You can do this in the notes section of your Verizon iPhone or iPad. If you shop at multiple stores, make note of that on your list. We like to divide our list into categories and in the order we do our shopping. For example, produce, meats/dairy, canned/packaged items and end with the freezer section.
5. Incorporate a leftover night or two into your meal plan – Leftovers may not be the most glamorous thing on the planet but if you value your time and your sanity you’ll do well to embrace leftovers. Plus, it’s a good way to clean out the fridge while reducing food waste.
6. Cook once, Eat twice – Be sure to include freezer-friendly recipes in your meal plan that you can double and freeze for future reheat and eat meals when you’re in a pinch. Also considering doubling or tripling recipes for meals that are family favorites so you’ll have enough leftovers for lunches or dinner later in the week.
7. Set a date with your kitchen on the weekend – Dedicating 2-3 hours on the weekend to slice, dice, chop, organize your refrigerator and even prepare some of the recipes that are on your menu will help you save time during the busy work week. Meal prepping is one of those tasks that isn’t necessarily the most enjoyable, but it’s always worth it. Want to learn more about meal prepping? You can read our Top 10 Meal Prepping Tips here.
We hope you found these 7 Steps for Mastering Meal Planning in 2018 helpful and that we’ve inspired you to give meal planning a try. If you love the idea of having your weekly meal plan and grocery list done for you, we highly recommend Real Plans. Real Plans is a fully-customizable online meal planning program that creates meal plans specific to your desires and each week includes a grocery list so that you know exactly what you need. Bonus: There’s also a free iPhone and Android app so you can take your grocery list with you.
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to planning meals? Share in the comments below!
This post was made possible by our friends at Verizon. Though we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always -100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating great recipes and content for you.
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