Meal planning sounds like a lot of work. But it’s nowhere near as taxing as last-minute shopping, cooking, cleaning…That’s assuming you have enough time to put together something filling and nutritious for everyone in your household.
The very thought is enough to make most of us shrug and reach for the take-out menu. Be kinder to your body and your budget by getting into the habit of meal planning.
For more meal planning insights read our Ultimate Guide on How To Meal Plan.
Check Your Fridge First
Before venturing out with a full list and an empty shopping cart see what you have at home first. Is there anything on the cusp of its best by or use-by date?
Anything with only a small portion of its content left, not enough to make a meal by itself?
If you’re not sure what to do with your finds, use a random recipe generator or random food generator to help you out. Ideally use one that has been customized for your dietary restrictions, health needs, or fitness goals.
Freezer Is Your Friend
It’s easy to run out of fridge space. Tupperware doesn’t stack anywhere near as well as the ads would like us to believe.
Take advantage of your freezer space by making stews, soups, and casseroles.
If you’re in a rush or are in the mood for something quick and warm, simply thaw and enjoy!
And don’t forget, frozen fruits and vegetables are often just as healthy as their fresh counterparts (and last much longer).
Ingredient List vs. Grocery List
Use the ingredients list as a master copy, writing down absolutely everything you know you’re going to need for the week.
After you’ve done that, go through your fridge, freezer, and pantry and cross off anything you already have. What remains is your grocery shopping list, tailor-made to ensure you only buy exactly what you need.
There’s the old school to-do list, clunky calendars, data draining apps, and bulky planners made for, well, meal planning.
But the point of meal planning is to cut down on clutter, which means using only what’s necessary and good for you. That philosophy isn’t exclusive to the kitchen.
Keep your meal schedules and recipes in one convenient place by going digital.
Set aside some time at the beginning of the week to take care of any prepping en masse.
Knock out your cutting, slicing, dicing, peeling, thawing, freezing, washing, rinsing, and even a little bit of cooking before the week begins so everything will be ready in the days to come.
And remember, no one gets it right the first time. Adopting habits into lifestyle takes practice. With enough patience, you’ll figure out how to meal plan in a way that works best for you and your needs.
Take advantage of our Nutiro Ultimate Guide on How to Meal Plan that gives you the flexibility to enjoy other meal planning options such as keto, paleo, vegan, gluten-free, etc.