For the Home · Meals

5 Tips on Meal Planning

When it comes to your meals, do you have some sort of meal plan in place? Do you plan your meals in advance, the day of the actual meal, or at the very moment you need to start cooking?

How about grocery shopping? Do you quickly look in your fridge and pantry to see what you need? Do you bring a shopping list to the grocery store or buy what you think you need while in the store? And do you end up forgetting an item and have to go back to the store later in the week?

I’ve definitely have done everything above before. There are times I don’t plan my meals out and make whatever that sounds good at the time. I’ve also had to run to the store because my fridge was almost bare. I’ve had food go bad because I didn’t use it in time.

I’ve tried many different ways while meal planning. Some things worked for me and others didn’t. When I have a system down, it definitely helps in planning out my meals.

It makes my life a whole lot easier when I do meal plan. Less chaos is much better. I’m all planned for the week and my fridge and pantry is stocked.

I created a post on meal planning few years ago, but I thought I would share with you what works the best for me now.

Here are 5 tips on meal planning:

1. Create a grocery list as you are running low/out of an item. Pick a place to have the list: chalkboard, a note on your phone, etc. It helps me to have most of my list created before I have to go grocery shopping, so I’m not looking through the fridge/pantry to see what I need before I head to the store. When my list is ready, I take a picture of my list, so I don’t have to write it down again.

2. Create a meat and vegetables list of what you currently have in your fridge/freezer. Having this list makes it easier for me when planning out my meals. That way I know how much meat and vegetables I have and what I’ll need to add to my grocery list.

3. Create a list of 5-6 meal ideas each for lunch and dinner. On this list, I have several easier meals for those days/nights that I need something quick to cook. I make two lists: one for home and one for school lunches for my daughter Katie. I’ll talk about packing school lunches in another post. For my girls’ meals, I try to make them something very similar to what my husband and I are eating. I’ll usually add a vegetable I know they’ll eat and some fruit or yogurt pouches. There are some meals that I know they won’t eat, so I’ll make them something different.

4. Create one location to store your recipes. I bought a recipe container to keep all of my recipes in. I have my recipes in eight different categories. I write out the recipe(s) on a note card while I’m cooking the meal. Before I was writing down the recipes in a small notebook. When I wanted to use a recipe again, I had to look through the notebook to find it. Not only do I now have one location for my recipes, I have a cute container to display in my kitchen.

5. Find inspiration for meal ideas in your cookbooks or on Pinterest. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes get tired of cooking the same things. I like to find new ideas to change things up. I’ll either follow the recipe or use it as a guide to create my own recipe.

Which tip helped you the most? What are you going to start doing?

Meals in the Kitchen is a post series on the subject of food. I’ll talk about my love for food to sharing recipes that I love cooking to food tips.

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