When it comes to healthy eating, meal planning is one of the easiest things you can do to set yourself up for success. The beauty of it is that there are just some simple rules, and if you follow them, you can’t really mess it up.
Planning meals in advance require a small investment of time but can reap great rewards. If you want to get a homemade meal on the table without frenzy or financial fall-out, we are here to help you. Just follow these easy steps.
How much food should you prepare for the week?
At first, it may be a tad overwhelming with all the foods you’ll want to make for a whole week, so we suggest starting with one meal that you find you’re most pressed for time or poses the most challenge. Just ask yourself at what time are you in a hurry, or how difficult is for you to prepare that meal? From there, start with that meal you’ve identified. Look for foods you can prepare ahead and learn how to prepare them.
Build a base shopping list
If you cook regularly, you’ll likely end up buying a lot of the same foods week after week. You can simplify everything by making a master list of recurring foods and then supplement with seasonal ingredients.
The freezer is your friend
Prepare a double batch of recipes and freeze (in individual portions for easier defrosting), or even your leftovers. They can save you time when you don’t have time to spend at the stove. When freezing your food, labeling is a great idea. Make sure to include the name of the meal and the date frozen.
Fill your fridge with favorites
Stock your fridge with foods that pair well together, and use them for weeknight dishes, filling in the gaps with pantry staples. Take red peppers, green peas, minced meat, and tomatoes: toss everything with pasta one night, and then use the leftover meat to prepare a Shepherd’s Pie with creamy mashed potatoes for the next meal. Be creative – just make sure that before buying your food, you should have the idea how to use them together. Waste not!
Don’t worry about introducing new exotic meals
When you’re first starting out and getting into the habit of menu planning, stick to the recipes you’re familiar with and you know the family loves. This makes it easier and at the end of the week when you will have the time to prepare them.
Cooking in batches
Even if we from home, let’s be honest, we all find other things to accomplish instead of preparing meals every night. But for the average people, who don’t work from home, they are always pressed to find the fastest meal solution, eating out too often and regularly settling for fast food. For a good batch-cooking recipe, you want something that’s easy to make in large quantities, keeps well for days, and tasty with a variety of different sides so you can mix it up.