The key to a week of delicious meals and balanced eating is meal preparation. When I don’t prepare our weekly menu I end up overspending at the grocery store, eating out more and putting together meals that don’t excite me. There is no specific method for meal planning so feel free to create a new way of putting together meals throughout the week. To help inspire you, here are some tips from the pros on how to enhance your weekly meal planning.
- The Kitchn: 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. Personally, I like Pinterest because it’s easy to visually browse what I’ve saved.”
Note: I use Pinterest save all recipes that actually worked for me and I liked! This makes it easy to reference recipes on a weekly basis and helps me continue staple meals in our weekly meal rotations.
- MyFitnessPal: Create a Master Recipe List
“Having a list of go-to meals is one of the easiest ways to expedite the meal planning process. Consider trying one or two new recipes and use a few old favorites to fill in the gaps. Every time you find a new meal you love, add it to the rotation.”
- Food52: Try a Theme Night (or Two)
“Assign a theme to dinner one night each week: tacos, breakfast for dinner, stir-fries – something that you’re happy eating regularly and that takes less than an hour to make. Write out 5 variations on the theme (if you choose a breakfast-for-dinner theme, your list might look like: omelets, pancakes, French toast, breakfast sandwiches, frittata) and rotate through them, adding more variations as you wish. Like it? Add a second themed dinner night each week.”
- Lifehacker: Prepare Tomorrow’s Meals At the End of Every Day
“… I’ve found that preparing myself for tomorrow’s meal makes the whole process much easier. Start as soon as you come home from the grocery store, though I actually perform this step every night of the week. Put anything that needs to thaw in the fridge, make sure the necessary pots, pans, and dishes for tomorrow’s meal are clean and ready so you don’t have to do it tomorrow. I’ll even get the tools and dry ingredients I need and put them on the counter, so I can start cooking as soon as I get off work.”
- USDA Thrifty Meals Reference: “Batch” Cooking
“Do “batch cooking” when your food budget and time allow. For example, cook a large batch of Baked Meatballs or Turkey Chili, divide it into family-size portions, and freeze some for meals later in the month.”
What are your best meal planning tips?