Get On That Meal Planning Grind!

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Meal planning is a genius idea however it’s something I just forget to do every week. And believe me it’s my least favorite thing to forget to do!  When I remember, and do take time to make a meal plan for the week I save money on my grocery bill, end up with less crappy food in the house after going to the grocery store, and spend less time in the week hopelessly staring in the pantry waiting for a bunch of random ingredients to turn into other ingredients that actually go together in a meal.  As much as I wish I could say I have had better ideas for meal planning than anyone else out there trying save themselves the blank pantry stare, I definitely haven’t, so I continue to look at Pinterest and other blogs to get ideas to make it easier and more fun- yeah right, but I can pretend/hope!

But as for my own tips on how to make meal planning easy and healthy here they are

Do some research

  • Find healthy meals
  • Check your own recipes
  • Look around blogs. Here are two of my favs: Skinnytaste.com & Laaloosh.com
  • If you don’t know if the recipes are healthy research the ingredients and find out if they really are healthy.  It’s always a good thing to learn more about the things we are putting in our bodies!

Put a list of recipes together

  • I only do 5-6 at a time. I don’t want to put a whole month of recipes and a grocery list together in one day, its overwhelming for me, so just tackle what you can at once.
  • Give yourself one night to be left over night, and one or two nights a month to go out to eat-depending on your budget for food.

Make a shopping list

  • Don’t buy anything that isn’t on your list!! Only ingredients for your planned meals and staples. For example, some of my staples are milk, oatmeal, cottage cheese, fruit, and veggies ect. . . . not Twinkies and pop tarts and corn dogs. . . those should not be staples!
  • Sticking to your list will save you money but more importantly you will save calories when you try to grab a Twinkie out of the cupboard and it’s not there so you have to eat an apple instead. . . good idea right!?!

Cook as much of the food as possible ahead of time at the same time.

  • If you are cooking three meals with chicken that week, cook all the chicken at the same time.  It won’t take much longer to cook three batches of chicken at the same time than it will to cook one batch of chicken

Buy a lot of good Tupperware and always have different size zip lock baggies around!

  • Having this stuff around will help with storing pre cooked food, pre portioning meals for the upcoming week, and saving left-overs for lunches and left over night

If you don’t have time to collect all the recipes and make a grocery list yourself, or you would just rather pay someone to do the work for you here is a blog post about a website that does just that. . .don’t we love technology that does the hard work for us?? I know I depend on it most the time!

Check it out:   http://www.domesticimperfection.com/2013/09/meal-planning-made-simple-how-emeals-saved-my-sanity/