In today’s post I’m sharing some of my tips for how to plan a week of meals. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming.
When I first started thinking about meal planning it felt overwhelming. I thought I had to have every single meal perfectly figured out and scheduled, not to mention going to the grocery store to buy every single ingredient I would need. I put a lot of pressure on myself to have things perfect, which kept me from starting in the first place. My meal planning each week definitely isn’t perfect, but it gets the job done and I’m never wondering what to make for dinner.
Curious about what I’m making to eat? Follow me on Instagram. I share a lot of my meals on there.
Use what you have
Before I sit down to come up with meals for the week I take a peek in the pantry, fridge, and freezer to see what I already have. Did I end up not making a meal from last week that I can make this week instead? Perfect. If I have leftover tortillas from the week before, then wraps or tacos are good ideas. Using what I already have available to me to base meals off of makes it easier. I have less food to buy at the grocery store as well as the fact that it’s easier on my budget. I know that my kitchen always has more food in it than I think. It just makes sense to start meal planning with what I already have.
Lunches are typically dinner leftovers. Eating leftovers means that it’s super fast to heat something up for lunches, and less waste. It also means that I have fewer meals to actually plan for too, which is always a good thing.
Once you have your meals for the week planned out, remember that it’s not set in stone. You can switch meals around to suit what’s happening certain days. If you end up running late one day, make that quick meal that you had scheduled for Friday. If you have errands that take less time that you expected, make that meal that’s a bit more time consuming. Being able to switch things up to make life easier is in your control.
Leaving things until the very last minute will make you feel stressed and like you’re always behind – or at least that’s how it is with me. If I have a plan for the week it feels like it takes a lot off of my plate. I don’t have to try to figure out what to make for dinner at 5:30 pm when I’m already feeling hungry and have zero motivation to cook for 30 minutes.
When I look for recipes to use, I like to go with ones that I know are tasty. Not only do I know that I and my family like them, but they also generally take me less time to cook because I’ve made them before. Having an idea of what I’m doing instead of having to check the recipe for each step is so much easier. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel when I have a great sloppy joe, beef stroganoff, or taco recipe.
Making cooking easy for yourself
Take advantage of time saving food. There’s no shame in buying the shredded cheese instead of buying a block of cheese and shredding it yourself. Bagged salad mix is better than no salad when you’re short on time. There’s lots of little ways to save yourself time when it comes to cooking. I usually have a couple different kinds of frozen vegetables in the freezer. Not only can I make however much I need – a little or a lot – but it also stays good in the freezer for a lot longer than fresh vegetables in the fridge. Having those items ready to go that are quick to cook make it easy.
How do you plan a week of meals? Share your tips in the comments below.