4 Tips For Successful Meal Planning
It is always a good idea to plan your meals properly. It can help you save both time and money, and it is more likely that you will eat healthy foods as well. Plus, it is something your whole family can get involved in. However, not everybody is naturally good at meal planning. Therefore, the following tips may be of benefit.
1. Plan Everything
When you start making meal plans, you have to understand that you actually have to plan everything.
“Planning is essential in most everything you do nutrition included. Do you just aimlessly get in your car and start driving and hope you get to the proper destination? This is essentially what you are doing when you just haphazardly put food in your mouth and hope that you will eat less and lose weight.”
So, you need to plan when you eat, how often you eat each day, how many calories you want to eat and how many people you are cooking for. Link it to an eat-well plate, so that you know you will get enough of each of the food groups as well. All of these will allow you to create the perfect shopping list, and you can even prep things like your vegetables for the week ahead.
2. Plan Around the Sales Cycle of Your Grocery Store
One way to make sure that you eat varied meals and still save money is to plan your meals around the sales cycle of your grocery store.
“Most grocery stores run their weekly sales circular on Sundays. My Sunday paper costs $2 and by planning my menus around the sales, the paper more than pays for itself. The Sunday newspaper also includes coupons, which you can take advantage of.”
A lot of people like doing this type of planning because it makes them feel less regimented. If you do your planning every Sunday after purchasing your paper, then you don’t really know what the week ahead will bring you yet. This often works a lot better than planning solely around your needs, which inevitably leads to eating the same thing over and over again.
3. Have Theme Nights
Having theme nights is a great way to get the whole family involved in meal planning, as everybody gets a chance to eat what they want. Additionally, it is a fantastic way to get picky eaters to try a few things that are new, particularly if they get to choose the theme as well. There are also many different themes to choose from.
“I use general guides like Soup Night, Pasta Night, Beans to make it easier.”
You can also use countries as a theme. This will allow you to go on a culinary journey around the world and try out lots of different new flavors and cooking methods. Plus, the actual planning of a theme night is really enjoyable.
Many of us struggle to cook exactly enough for the entire family and usually end up with quite a few leftovers. Hence, it would be a good idea to try to schedule in a weekly leftover day.
“In my house that means I take all the leftover containers out of the refrigerator and line them up on the counter and the family gets to pick what they want.”
Alternatively, you could put everything in a big pan and hope for the best. The benefit of this is that there is at least one day where you don’t have to buy food, thereby saving money. Secondly, you are lowering wastage, which is really important considering some people are still dying of hunger.