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Living a healthy life mean, making things easier on yourself. When it comes to eating, making things easier will take a load off of you! One way to do that is by learning how to meal plan! So, let’s do this!
Do you know how much easier dinners can be each week when you spend a little time creating a meal plan? Doing a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly meal plan is a great way to help you not only to manage your meals more easily, but will help you to save money as well! It’s one of the best ways to keep eating intentionally. It does take a little time up front when you first begin menu planning. But once you’ve set up a few basics, you’ll find that it won’t take as long to do a plan.
- Write out a list of meals that you like or fix regularly. When I began to meal plan, what I did first was to sit down and write out a list of meals that were favorites. You can break up that list according to seasons if you want, but that is completely up to you. This list can be added to throughout the year too as you discover new recipes. To this day, I still meal plan using this list. It just takes the guesswork out of planning. I recommend starting with at least 20 meal ideas on your list. You can add to that when you are ready.
- Decide how many meals you want to plan each week. What is your goal for cooking dinner at home each week? I plan for 5 dinners each week, and either plan for leftovers or for a special evening out the other two nights.
- Pick your meals. Choose which meals from your list you want to make for the week. Make sure you also include any side dishes, salads or desserts that you want to include as well.
- Break down the ingredients you’ll need. On a separate sheet of paper, you’ll want to write down all of the ingredients that you’ll need for that week’s meals. This will serve as your shopping list.
- Do an inventory. Go through your cupboards, pantry, refrigerator and freezer and see which ingredients from your shopping list you already have. Cross them off of the list!
- Go shopping! Yep, it’s time to go and get what you need.
Other meal planning options
There are a few other options for meal planning. There are websites and apps that can help.
- Evernote Food– this app is available for iPhone, iPad and android devices. It is free to use and a very popular way to organize your food.
- Epicurious.com-joining gives you access to a recipe box and also create shopping lists. You can add your own recipes or pull from websites. Membership is free, but there are also paid subscriber options.
- Plantoeat.com-this is an actual meal planning website. It’s easy to add recipes from any website using the url or the special bookmarklet that you can download. Once you have added recipes to your recipe book, you can add them to your weekly meal planner and print up shopping lists. Plantoeat.com is $5 a month with a discount for a yearly subscription at $39.
I actually now use Plantoeat.com and really like it a lot! It took me a little time in the beginning to add all of my recipes to my recipe book, but once they were there….they were there! You can also change the amount of servings of any recipe, which is really convenient for those who are looking for 1-2 serving recipes! It is definitely worth $5 a month!