Meal planning does not have to be hard! In fact, the benefits of meal planning will make your life so much easier.
Meal planning simply means thinking through your meals in advance. You’re going to have to think about them anyway so thinking them through with enough time to prepare will actually benefit you in so many ways.
So let’s talk about those benefits quickly. It’s important to realize the many benefits to meal planning because it will help get you motivated to actually sit down and come up with your plan. Here’s are a few of the benefits to meal planning:
- You’ll save money. When you have a plan, you buy only what you need. I literally cut my grocery bill in HALF once I started meal planning.
- You’ll eat less junk. When you have a meal plan, you’re not resorting to quick heat-up meals with lots of preservatives. When you’re getting full from a nice homemade meal, you’re not going to be hungry and reaching for chips, cookies, etc.
- Your fridge will be cleaner. When you’re buying only what you need, your fridge won’t be full of random stuff all the time.
- You’ll waste less food. When you have a plan and a shopping list, you won’t over-buy or ultimately have to throw out food that goes bad before you can eat it.
- You’ll feel like a boss. When you have a plan, you just come home and make your meal. No stress! No feeling frazzled!
- You can better
cater todeal with picky eaters. Everyone can weigh in on the menu early in the week rather than at the last minute or when food is already on the table.
To meal plan effectively, I recommend breaking it into just two steps:
- First, create your menu for the week. I would start with dinners and maybe breakfast ideas for the weekends. If you are eating out, write that on your menu. Don’t feel bad about it. If you’re too busy to cook, that’s fine! But write down where you will be eating out and maybe even what you’ll order so that you don’t make a last-minute unhealthy choice.
- Then, write out your shopping list. Write down ingredients you need to make the meals on your menu. Pretty basic, huh? It’s not hard! If you want to get advanced, try to find recipes that use some overlapping ingredients so that you cut down further on waste.
You can either write these two parts out on a note pad, or check out my printable menu planner. It’s free and it’s really simple to use. To get it, put your email in the box at the top of this page and I’ll send you a PDF to print. 👆
Here’s how my printable meal planner and grocery list works:
- Fill out your menu for the week in the top portion.
- Check your fridge and cabinets to see what ingredients you already have. In the bottom shopping list portion, write in what you need to buy. The list is organized by department to make in-store shopping more efficient!
- Cut the planner in half.
- Take your shopping list to the store or save time and use a delivery or pick-up services (I love Walmart pick up!!)
- Post the menu half on the fridge as your guide and reminder for the week.
That’s it! Super easy. So beneficial! If you’re ready to get started, put your email in the box below and I’ll send you my printable meal planner.