Meal planning can be a huge timesaver, stress reliever and money saver if done properly. Here are a few tips to help you in your meal planning adventures. You will be shocked at the amount of time meal planning will free up for you during the week. If you aren’t stressed about meals during the week it can actually bring the joy back into cooking!
1. Seven Nights? Lets be realistic!
3-4 nights a week doing a meal from scratch is realistic. Don’t set expectations and make a meal plan that you can’t stick too. This will only discourage you and get you off track.
2. Start a master recipe list!
Make a list of your tried, tested and true recipes. Have it somewhere handy, like your smart phone so when it comes time to meal plan you can be quick and efficient! Try out 1 or 2 new recipes each week and fill the other days in with your staples!
3. Maximize your weekend!
Pick one day on the weekend to shop and prep. You can either prep meals in full that reheat well, or partially prep your ingredients to save time during the week. Cooking like this when you are not rushed can actually be quite enjoyable. Throw on your favourite tunes and rock out while you chop!
4. The freezer is your friend!
Double up recipes and freeze individual portions. You will thank yourself later for this! Having quick grab and goes are always handy especially for lunches at the office/school. Come lunchtime your home cooked goodness will be partially thawed and just require a quick reheat!
5. Overlap Ingredients!
Plan meals that utilize similar ingredients. This will help to reduce waste and keep costs down. This is especially important if you live alone or are just 2 people.
6. The Twofer!
Look for recipe ideas that allow you to use one days leftovers in the next days meal! (Example, roast a chicken one day and then do chicken fajitas the next day!) This will keep your work efforts down and also help to reduce waste!
7. The classic Leftover Night!
This was a thing in my house! Does it still happen? Line up the entire weeks leftovers on the counter and allow everyone to serve themselves buffet style! Everyone ultimately gets what they want and you get a night off from cooking!