Meal planning for the entire week requires some forethought.
It’s a little trickier than just pointing at a recipe and making it happen.
Actually, it’s all about choosing recipes that are super easy for you to create and creating a solid plan before you execute it. Your weekly meals should be easy to make and prep, use up some of the ingredients you already have and be nutritious.
First thing’s first, you’re going to need a decent plan. You can create your weekly meal plan in a journal or notebook.
But before you start writing it down, you need to plan it out.
MAKE A REALISTIC PLAN
How many days and how many meals do you want to plan? Chances are, while you’re at work, the only meals you need to plan are your dinners – but wouldn’t it be great to prep ahead and have lunch and breakfast ready too?
Think about your goals and the time you have to actually prep your meals. One great tip for meal planning is to get a slow cooker if you don’t already have one, that way you can prepare and slow cook things in advance while you’re busy.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT RECIPES FIRST
It’s not just a question of choosing what looks good. You need to pick the right recipe based on your goals. Maybe you want quick ten minute meals, maybe you’re trying to be healthier, or vegetarian, or prep ahead on a Sunday. Whatever your goal, the recipes you choose should support that.
Secondly, choose meals that bless you with leftovers. So you can turn one day’s dinner into tomorrow’s lunch!
SMARTEN UP YOUR SHOPPING LIST
Before you head out and buy everything, write two separate shopping lists for each recipe. First, write a list of spices and pantry items (for example sauces) for each recipe, and on the second list write out the groceries you need (things like chicken and sweet potato). Subhead each list with the recipe it’s for so you don’t get lost.
Now head to your kitchen and check off pantry items and spices you already have. Everything else you need to buy. If you notice most recipes use the same pantry items and spices, make a note to keep your kitchen stocked with those essentials. Even if you don’t meal prep every week, you can still whip something up.
DESIGNATE A MEAL PREP DAY
You don’t want to be cooking full meals every night, you’ll end up tired, cranky, and abandon your meal plan very quickly. So choose one day where you can really start preparing things.
You can pre-cut and prepare your vegetables and meat in advance so that you can throw them in the pot when you’re ready to cook. Why not try doing that on a Sunday? Dice your vegetables, cook your chicken breasts, store them in Tupperware in the fridge and in boxes in a cupboard labeled with numbers for every day of the week. That way you can come in on a Wednesday, grab box three that’s already prepared and start cooking.