How to Meal Plan Like a Pro
Preparation is key when it comes to success of all kinds, including eating healthy! Meal planning might seem like a major undertaking, but once you have a system in place it will save you time, money, and keep your plate clean. Start with the steps below and be sure to share your best meal planning tips with us on Instagram or Facebook!
1. Collect an arsenal of recipes (pinterest, cookbooks, magazines, host a recipe party!). Having a nice binder or online folder of recipes takes the guess work out of creating your menu. After a few weeks, you will begin to have staple recipes that you keep coming back to and you can continue to search for new recipes to add to your collection!
2. Create a schedule. What day do you prefer to shop? When will you start your weekly menu? If you prefer to go to the store multiple times per week, stick with a 2-3 day schedule. Personally, I like to get my shopping done all at once, so I plan for a full 7 days!
3. Fill your weekly menu. This part is easy! Just pick recipes from your collection to fill in dinners for each day of the week. Be sure to plan for nights out or a cheat day so that you don't end up wasting any groceries.
4. Make your grocery list! Adjust recipes that make too many servings (or keep the leftovers in the freezer and have an easy meal on hand!). Make a list of what you have on hand too. This can be eye opening and you may have great ingredients hanging out in the pantry that you forget to use.
5. Don’t forget to plan a few options for breakfasts and lunches. Packing your lunch is a great way to stay on track and save money!
TIPS: Only buy what you need… use the bulk bins to get smaller amounts of ingredients that you only need for one recipe. If you find you like the ingredient, you can always grab more! You will also start to learn what ingredients last longer in the fridge than others. I plan my dinners around what produce will spoil fastest (like greens and avocado) and save hardier veggies for later in the week (like carrots and cauliflower).