Organize My Meal Planning
I find that planning meals ahead of time can save you time during a busy work week and money. These are my top 8 tips for meal planning that will make a world of difference in your day to day.
1. Designate a day to plan the weeks menu.
Sunday is often a good day. Plan a few meals and ask for family input. You don’t need to be the only one deciding what is for dinner! I usually plan 4 meals and then go to the pantry for spontaneous dinner ideas like pasta, soup, quinoa, bean salad, etc... One day a week we go out to dinner or get take out.
2. Clean out the fridge.
Sunday night is a great time to clean out the fridge and to throw out leftovers that did not get eaten. Wipe down the shelves and crisper bins if necessary. If you take care of this once a week, it will remain manageable. It is also a great way to inventory what is on hand and what needs to be added to your list!
3. Create a grocery list.
When you have everything needed on hand, the more likely you'll be to cook and less tempted to order out. You will spend less money at the store because you will not be as tempted by items that aren't on the list! List the items that you’ll need to make meals for the week ahead. Check your pantry for spices, oils, and non-perishable items that you may need to stock up on too.
4. Shop with intention.
Bring your list! If you can shop during the day, great. If not, try to avoid dinner time. The store is most crowded then and you are most likely to be hungry. That's the time when you're most likely to make impulsive purchasing decisions that can lead to waste. I make a pantry dinner like pasta and red sauce on a Monday night and go grocery shopping after dinner to avoid the rush.
5. Unpack and start meal prep.
Take out all non-perishable items and put them away. Start your meal prep if you have the time. Defrost anything that you plan to use for the next night. You may feel more committed if you come home during the work week and already have a start on dinner! I find that chopping vegetables, herbs, and fruits can be a big time saver! If you are lucky enough to be home during the day, consider prepping at lunchtime.
6. Take leftovers for lunch.
Consider making enough food to intentionally take leftovers for lunch. That way you don’t need to buy lunch every day which can certainly add up in cost. I don't feel too badly about buying lunch once a week if I have leftovers or a sandwich for the rest of the week.
7. Plan for breakfast.
I consider these items my staples for breakfast: boiled eggs, bread for toast, almond butter, cereal and milk, etc... If you keep these staples on hand you will not be tempted to stop on your way to work for a coffee and muffin!
8. Go grocery shopping on Friday.
Friday is a good day to stop into the grocery store for more perishables if needed. Make a short list of essentials and entertaining provisions that you may need for the weekend. Stop in on your way home from work. If you are only buying a few things, you can get in and out of the store quickly!
I hope that these tips help with your meal prep for the busy weeks ahead. I’d love to hear more of your ideas as well! If you need any help with the storage in your pantry, please visit Inspired Closets in Williston, VT. Leave me a comment below and like this post if you found it beneficial.
- Elizabeth 💙