I’ve always been a meal planner. Honestly, I don’t know how I would really go about my grocery shopping if I didn’t plan my meals. Plus I like to try new recipes, and in order to do so I need to have the goods on hand.
The above list is my meal plan for last week. As you can see, it’s not pretty but it works and usually at the end of the week our fridge is pretty darn empty. It makes deciding meals so much easier, and I think we save on groceries because we aren’t buying things that are potentially going to waste. I really recommend it!
Here are my tips for meal planning!
Top 10 Tips for Meal Planning
1. Set aside a day of the week to plan meals. The best day is the day before you are going to go for groceries, so you can see what’s left in your fridge and what needs to be used up.
2. Bored of your recipes? I keep cooking magazines so I usually pull the issues for the same month in years past. For example, this month I may have pulled cooking magazines from March or April 2013 and previous. I also rotate cookbooks with the ones in the basement. I have even done a cookbook swap with friends. And of course, there’s the internet.
4. Think about what is realistic for your family. Are you really going to cook a meal each day? I usually leave one day free, and that gives us the flexibility to eat out or pick up something different.
5. Think about when you have time to cook. Some days I am gone all day – a labour intensive dish isn’t going to cut it. Those days I’ll choose something easy to whip up at the end of the day, or find a slow-cooker recipe.
6. Think about leftovers ingredients. Last Tuesday I made pulled pork in the slow cooker. Clearly this wasn’t all going to be used up by tacos, so I added pulled pork sandwiches the next day. Also think about what you need to use up in your fridge.
7. Think about meat. You can see that half way through the week, I’ve made a note for myself to pick up some chicken from our local butcher. That way I don’t have to have chicken in my fridge for a week. Alternatively, I’ll eat my meat dishes at the beginning of the week so that the meat expiring is not an issue.
8. If you need to marinate something write it down on the list the day before. For example, if you need marinated meat for a meal on Friday, under Thursday put a special note reminding yourself to get that marinade done.
9. Remember when you will be out of the house! I was gone last Saturday, so suggested my husband pick up a ready to go meal from one of the shops on Monkland.
10. Stick to the plan, but don’t be afraid to move things around. I rarely make everything exactly in the order I’ve written it. I think if you try to be to rigid, it might start too get a bit intense.
Do you have any other tips for meal planning?
ps My big tip for the grocery list? Put everything in the order of your grocery store. It makes buying things much easier. For example, my grocery list starts with fruits and veg, followed by bakery, meat, household products, staples, and then dairy. It’s so much quicker than always scanning the list!