15 TIPS FOR MEAL PLANNING .

It’s whatever way you organize yourself to cook a meal, whether that’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is the plan you make before you shop. Some people plan a month in advance, freezing neatly labeled packets of soup and stew. Others wing it, shopping for that evening’s meal at the farmers’ market and picking up whatever looks good to them.( I am amongst  both People )

Secondly, I was asked by many readers how I plan  my menu . There’s no right way to plan your meals; you should just do what is effective for you!

This list of tips is all over the map — there are plenty of ideas here for getting more organized and helping yourself think ahead. 

This is just a rough idea of how to plan the week’s menu 🙂

15 Tips for Meal Planning 

GETTING INSPIRED

1) Spend time each week looking for recipes.

This may feel like an indulgence, but just let yourself do it. Browse websites for recipes that look delicious.

2) Create a place to save recipes, and keep it SIMPLE.

Do whatever works for you. Don’t get caught up in a system, just use whatever works best and most easily.

3) Ask your partner, family, and roommates what they like to eat.

This might sound obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in our weeks and forget to ask our husband and kids  what they would like to eat?

4)Check the Weather.

Again, you may say, duh, but seriously. Right now, the weather is changeable in many parts of the country. Look at the weather forecast, and try to predict if you’re going to be in the mood for soup or grilled shrimp salad On Friday.

5) Weekly Menu Plan

 I use a blank WEEKLY CALENDAR and plan the week’s meals on the weekend, basing my grocery list on only those items.

GETTING ORGANIZED 

1) Start a calendar.

Now that you’re getting inspired in what to eat, start a calendar of what you’d like to cook over the next few days or few weeks.This always helps BTW.

2) Go with theme nights (soup night, pasta night, beans).

I use general guides like Soup Night, Pasta Night, Beans to make it easier. Every Wednesday is Taco night  at my place …just saying!

3) Choose a shopping day and make a shopping list.

Some of the meal planning and recipe-saving services let you do this easily, extracting ingredients from the recipes you have saved.

4)Check what’s on Sale .

Some folks really like to organize their meals around sales. I used to do this but not anymore. 😦

5) Plan for Leftovers !

Most of us have at least some tolerance for leftovers. Try to make you’re cooking always do double duty. Make a little extra of everything, and if you don’t want it right away, freeze it.

GETTING IT DONE

1) Prep food as soon as you get back from the store.

Wash and dry lettuce. Chop onions. Roast vegetables. Shred zucchini for quick stir-fries. Stack up glass containers of prepped ingredients in the refrigerator and bask in your own awesome preparedness. 

2) Cook components of your meals.

Going beyond prep, cook components of the meals. I cook large batches of components(gravies )on the weekend, then mix-and-match them according to what I’m craving during the week. 

3)Be strategic about freezing.

The freezer is your friend. Actually, it’s the friend of future you. Make a double batch of that sauce mentioned above and freeze half for later. Don’t Judge me but my Life has been saved plenty of times by my freezer !

4) Don’t overstuff the refrigerator.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when your fridge is over-full. Also, things get hidden in the back, lost behind the veggies . Don’t let things go bad.

5) Keep a well-stocked pantry.

Meals are easier and quicker to prepare if you keep your pantry well-stocked. 

All right! What did I  miss? What keeps you motivated, inspired, and on track with cooking for yourself during the week? Please let me know !! Dying to read about your menu planning !!

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