Meal planning is one of the best ways to save money, eat healthier, and enjoy more homemade meals. This article contains helpful advice for anyone who wants to get started with meal planning. First, let’s take a look at why you should consider starting a meal plan, How To Make Meal Plan – Tips And Ideas
Why Meal Plan?
There are lots of reasons that people meal plan.
There’s nothing worse than ordering takeout and being disappointed with the quality of food that you get, especially if it is not healthy. Meal planning can help you put together meals that are both nutritious and delicious.
It isn’t always easy or convenient to cook your own meals at home but one of the benefits of doing so is that you will save a lot of money over time compared to eating out or getting delivery. With some organization, cooking at home can be rewarding rather than tedious.
A well-organized meal plan will include ingredients that are on sale and in season.
Explore new recipes
When you meal plan, you know how long your favorite recipes take to make and usually save these for busy weeknights. For those days when you’re feeling creative or have a little more time, it’s a good idea to explore new recipes and cooking methods so you can increase your repertoire and not get stuck in a rut.
Meal planning encourages you to eat a variety of dishes which is good for your health as it allows you to get more nutrients from a wide range of sources. We often get bored of making the same dishes over and over so if this is you read on for more tips.
Make more time for fun activities
With some organization and dedication, meal planning can be simple rather than overwhelming. Once it becomes part of your routine, you will find yourself having more time for fun activities and the stress associated with figuring out what to cook or overspending on takeout will become obsolete.
How To Meal Plan
To start, take out a pen and paper to plan your menu for a week. Don’t be afraid to try new things or experiment with different foods. You can also make use of online resources for meal planning, such as recipe blogs and meal planners to keep things organized.
Here are some tips on how to go about it:
Plan around your schedule
Meal planning works best if you take into account the time you have available for cooking as well as the ingredients that you already have at home. If you do not have much spare time, getting organized is essential so that everything can flow smoothly when it’s time to cook up a storm! Look for “30-minute recipes” and recipes that use the ingredients you already have on hand.
Use leftovers creatively
One of the most satisfying parts about cooking is having something delicious to enjoy for lunch the next day. Eating leftovers needn’t feel like a chore. Save them to create something new, or simply enjoy them as they are. You can also skip a day of cooking if you have enough saved so don’t forget to cook enough for leftovers!
Create a schedule
This works well if you and your partner (or housemates) share responsibility for meal planning and cooking: assign who cooks on which day and stick to what works best for everyone. Keep track of what you cook and how it turns out so that next time you know what kind of dishes will go down a treat with your family/housemates.
Shop your fridge first
Always start by checking what ingredients you already have on hand. This is way more economical and allows you to use up the things you already have on hand before they need to go in your compost bin.
Check your calendar
Planning ahead will help you avoid getting stuck with takeout on busy days when you thought you would be able to cook something. Check your meeting or extra-curricular schedule first to make sure you’ll always be prepared.
Having some prep-ahead meals in the freezer is a good idea for these busy nights. So plan to prep some ingredients so you can throw these together in a pinch when necessary.
Set a budget
Cooking from scratch can save a lot of money if you’re organized. Set your budget then look for coupons and grocery store sales when meal planning. Include recipes that have these sale items and plan accordingly.
Include compatible family members
If you have young children, pick out recipes they might enjoy trying and look for ones with simple prep so that they can join in! Older children who are interested in cooking can be turned into sous chefs so everyone gets to spend quality time together. Encourage them to try new things and involve them in meal planning by asking for their input on what dishes sound best.
With these tips under your belt, you will be on your way to a more positive and healthy relationship with cooking in no time. Meal planning doesn’t have to feel like a chore, so enjoy the process!
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