Meal Planning is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy diet (and save your sanity). It also happens to save money and waste, too. What’s not to like?
In the interest of reaching the best health of my life, I’m done with eating cereal for dinner (OK, maybe I’ll still do that sometimes) and arriving at dinner time frazzled because I don’t know what I’m going to make today.
So, for the next few weeks, I’ll be creating meal plans, and I hope you join me in trying to do some meal planning of your own.
I used to do meal plan and food prep, but since my writing/editing business got busier, I’ve kind of fallen off the wagon. But I’m committing to putting in the time now so I can reap the benefits later (which is true of everything in life, isn’t it?) Anyway, here’s some stuff you should know about the meal plans if you’d like to join me and/or create your own.
- I’ll be creating 5-10 meal plans that I can cycle through.
2. Each meal plan will include at least 2 slow cooker meals, so that we have a reprieve from cooking a few times per week.
3. You will see that I usually cook 4 dinners per week instead of 7. I plan on having leftovers at least twice a week, sometimes more. And since I don’t cook any meat other than fish, sometimes hubby cooks a meat dish once a week.
4. We’re a family of five, with two kids who could out-eat most adults, and a husband who cycle commutes 2 hours a day and arrives home famished… so every recipe you see here, I always double (and sometimes triple, depending on our schedule that week).
5. Meal plan will include not just dinner but lunches and snacks as well. If this feels overwhelming, start with planning just dinner and go from there. I don’t include breakfasts because I almost always have the same thing for breakfast.
6. Recipes are starting points for me. I almost never follow a recipe to the letter. I start with the recipe, and add my own flare, spices, and substitute like there’s no tomorrow. Yes, I do this for slow cooker recipes, too – so long as you maintain the dry to wet ingredient ratio, it should cook just fine. All that’s to say that while you may see a recipe on this site, please know that it probably looked somewhat different once I brought it to the table. I encourage you to do the same. While too much creativity in a baking recipe can mean culinary disaster, in cooking there’s much more room for creativity. Use your imagination and go from there 🙂
7. I take one morning a week to do most of my food prep. Usually, on Saturday mornings, hubby takes the kiddos to the in-law’s for pancake breakfast, and I stay home prepping food for the week ahead. I find cooking fun and often relaxing, so this is a nice time for me. I wouldn’t call it a “break,” because you know, unless I’m chilling out with a book and a glass of wine, it ain’t no break, but still. It’s nice. And it prevents the feeling of overwhelm as the week gets on. Dinner tonight? Just pull some stuff out of the fridge and throw it in a pot. Perfect.
All right, so without further ado, click here for the first meal plan 🙂
Do you meal plan? What tools have you find useful for doing so?
4 thoughts on “Meal Planning Helps You Save Money, Time, and Sanity – and It’s Healthy, Too!”
I’ve been meal planning for a couple of years now and have found that it works very well once you get into the habit of doing it every week. Before I do my weekly grocery shop, I write out a list of ingredients for 7 dishes – these are usually quick and easy, tried and tested recipes although I will occasionally try a new recipe. I decide each day which dish I will cook depending on the time available, my energy levels and often the use-by dates of the ingredients!
That’s very similar to what I do! It does work really well 🙂