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Have you been thinking of doing some meal planning to be more organized and eat healthier?
Want to learn some meal planning basics?
Have you decided that it’s probably too time consuming and therefore not worth the effort?
I have been where you are! I do not need to add any time to my already chock full week.
What I need is some easy tips and tricks to sneak in some meal planning with the least amount of time and effort needed. That is why I am going to share my super easy meal planning process that saves me time AND money. Read on my friends…
Prepare, prepare, prepare
Grocery Shopping isn’t exactly the most exciting chore there is, but it’s
what I refer to as a necessary evil. Unless you want to eat out for all or most of your meals, which is not usually as healthy and more expensive, shopping is on the must-do list.
You can make the process a bit easier if you have a plan. I shop on a weekly basis and I follow the same steps to save time and energy.
- Choose a night to review the up-coming week’s schedule. Looking ahead at the week’s calendar can save making meals and snacks when you don’t need them. Look at which days you have evening plans, kids sports or lunch meetings. This will cut down on the number of meals and snacks that you need shop and prepare for.
- Review the grocery store flyer. Take a few minutes to review the grocery store flyer at your local market to see if there are any sales or coupons that make sense for you that week. If there are good sales on things you purchase often, plan on doubling the recipe and freezing half for a quick defrost and weeknight meal in the future. Plan leftovers into your meal plan.
- Plan the menu. I look through my recipes and the grocery store flyers and decide my menu for the week. Once I have decided on the menu, I write them down in a notebook. The notebook is an easy way to create a meal plan. You don’t need fancy calendars or journals. Keeping all the information in a notebook allows you to have a ready-made meal plan at your fingertips or a place to inspire you when you are feeling less than creative meal wise.
- Plan for leftovers. Utilize your leftovers for a repeat meal or a portion of another meal. Vegetables are great for adding to stir-fry’s and soups. Larger cuts of meat can be used for stews and casseroles. You want to work smarter, not harder.
- Make the list. Now begin to make a list of what items you need to purchase. This is when you should look in your freezer and pantry and see what you already have and what you need to get.
You are ready to shop
Make sure you bring your list and try to stick with it. It is easy to walk by an end cap and want to grab some extras, but a list that you stick by will save you money in the long run.
Remember to add meal prep supplies to your list! Large freezer bags, plastic containers, aluminum foil and plastic wrap are a few things I always add to my list.
You want to be sure you can move right in to the meal prep process without losing any of the good food that you have just purchased!
If you have time, visit your local farmers’ market where you will likely save money buying very fresh, local produce. I can fill two or three grocery bags full of beautiful fruits and vegetables and spend far less than I would in the grocery store.
Finally, if you’re someone who loves eating organic, whole food, then maybe you’ve heard of Thrive Market: An online grocery store that specializes in selling organic pantry, home and beauty products and delivering it all right to your door.
There you have it! 5 easy steps to take before hitting the grocery store to make the process more organized and less time consuming. A few minutes to prepare ahead can save time, money and cut down on food waste.