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Meal planning made easy

December 29th, 2017
Natalie R.
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Meal planning made easy
So, the weekend is here and you’re tired of running around all week trying to figure out what is for lunch and dinner. (Breakfast is kind of a wing-it, yeah?) Well, we’ve got you covered. There is a better way than running home from work, trying to figure out what you can quickly make up before the little ones need baths and bedtime.

Meal planning can seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple. And even better yet, it can save you money! By planning your meals ahead of time, you can buy what is on sale and skip the temptation of ordering ready-made food which is more expensive and not nearly as healthy.

Shop Sales

The first step to a good, budget-friendly meal plan, is to pick up your favorite grocery stores flyer and see what is on sale. Then, plan what you would like to eat based on what is discounted. Choosing fruits and vegetables that are in season will make your meals both tastier and more budget-friendly, as well.

Make a menu

The next step is going to be to write down all of your meals for the next week. I like to do my meal planning and prepping on Sundays, so that it is ready for the work-week. So, I use Saturday to go through my store's flyer, go grocery shopping and put everything together on Sundays. Write down everything, and I mean everything. Write down breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. The most important piece of this is not to sway from your plan. Oh, sometimes I'm just having a day where I do not want to eat the lunch that I made for work and I want to order out some Chinese. But, no, I spent a lot of time preparing and I commit to eating what I brought instead. (most of the time!)

Sort meals ahead of time

This is especially helpful for school and work lunches. But, I find that if I prepare everything ahead of time, my week goes so much more smoothly. So, I wash and pre-cut vegetables. I make a big fruit salad (apart from the apples and bananas, as no one likes black fruit!) I put together a big salad, so all that needs to be done is to scoop into dishes at dinner time. Utilize reusable plastic containers to make your lunches for the week. I usually do a salad each day, with some form of protein on top. So, I use five containers to put the salad in and use a separate container for the protein, whether it is chickpeas, eggs, turkey or steak. Sometimes, I will even cook my dinner the night before so that all that needs to be done the next evening is to be re-heated.

Have Go-to Meals

I am all for trying new and exciting things, but it is also important to have some staples that just work for you and your family. For instance, if we are all having a rough day, I know I can whip up a quick homemade macaroni and cheese in my pressure cooker in 5-10 minutes flat. I know if my kids are being picky, I can make scrambled eggs and toast and they will be in heaven. So, to make my life easy (and to minimize the amount of "take a bite...'s" I have to say), I am sure to mix their favorites into the weekly menu.

Use leftovers

When planning your meals, understand that unless you're feeding a family of Hoovers, you will likely have leftovers some nights. So, either write in your plan that you will bring those leftovers to work, or what I like to do, is to claim Wednesdays or Thursdays as "Clean Out The Fridge Night" and we eat all the leftovers from Sunday through Wednesday in there. The kids think it is fun and I'm just glad to ensure there is no waste!
I hope these tips are helpful! Tell me, how do you meal plan to make your life easier?

Natalie x

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