Planning meals is much easier than it sounds, and as a result, you get to try new recipes, eat favorite meals often, have a variety of delicious meals, and eat much, much healthier food.
Planning is a process, but it is simple and efficient, and the more often you do it, the quicker it becomes! Don’t think because I’ve listed a bunch of steps that your meal planning is going to take all day. It’s really fast, trust me. And you only have to do it once a week.
I’ve posted a screenshot of my meal schedule from Google calendar at the bottom for an example.
Let’s get started meal planning!
1. Inventory your cupboard and refrigerator.
Decide if there are any foods that NEED to be eaten this week (fresh veggies, about-to-expire dry/canned goods, raw meat, etc.) and write those down.
2. Bring your notes from step 1 to your computer, and open an Excel spreadsheet. Type in categories for your shopping list. Here’s what mine looks like:
3. Search your cookbooks/online/recipe print-outs (I find a lot of my recipes online/on blogs, so I print them and keep them in a folder) for the foods you already have (from Step 1). Once you finish with those foods, pick out a couple new recipes that you’ve been dying to try.
4. As you flip through your cookbooks/search online, write down in your Excel spreadsheet the other ingredients (and amounts of them!) that you need for each recipe. This way, your shopping list and your list of meals will be finished at the same time.
5. Put your meals on a calendar. I use Google’s online calendar, but you can write it down on paper, too. Here’s mine:
Now you’re all set to go grocery shopping!
Some extra thoughts:
On my calendar, I put the name of cookbook and page number in the “description” spot so I can find the recipe easily when it’s time to cook.
I usually eat leftovers for lunch, or make sandwiches/salads/eggs.
Have fun planning! If you have questions, comment and let me know.