Who doesn’t need a simple life? Everybody wants a life that is free from all types of hassles and problems. But this kind of life doesn’t come easy. If you want a simple and slow life, you need to have less stuff, you need to say ‘no’ more and you need to make the time for things that matter. You also need to embrace different systems that will help you lead the life that you want.
One of those systems is meal planning. It is all about being organized in the kitchen just like everywhere else. Meal planning comes differently to different individuals. Some people like to cook, while others hate it. Some might just put up with it in order to create healthy meal plans for their families on a regular basis.
You don’t have to spend a whole lot of time in planning your meals. Here we will tell you all about meal planning and how you can develop a healthy system that is centered around you and your family instead of it being the other way around. After all, who wants to spend time going around shops trying to decide what to buy for the next meal? You can save your time and spend it on things that matter more: your family.
What is Meal Planning?
To put it simply, meal planning is a complete system that enables you to plan your meals for the next week. You can even plan for a longer period of time if you are so inclined. It contains steps like going through your grocery list and listing down all the items that you are going to need for the week. Then you shop for all those items at a single go. It will save a lot of time and money as you won’t have to go to the mart again and again and since you will have a list of ingredients, you won’t have to stand around the isles thinking of what you should buy.
1. Collect all you need to begin
The first step in any process is planning. As the old but true saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The same is the case with meal planning. Bring together everything that you have related to cooking. Get your recipe books, your recipe apps, your favorite cooking YouTube channels, your calendar, a meal planner sheet (you can download it easily or make one yourself), and your grocery list. Also include your budget, any coupons that you might have, and any dietary information about you or your family.
Select a time to do this when you know you will not be disturbed and can spend 15 to 20 minutes focusing on your task easily and comfortably. Write down the dates that you are planning for in your meal planner.
2. Consult your calendar
Once you have written the dates for the next week in your calendar, you are ready to go. Make sure that you mark any upcoming events, birthdays, holidays, or previous engagements, etc. Some of those events like birthdays or an anniversary will require a different meal. You can cook an extravagant meal for that occasion or order something. For the rest of the meals, you need to prepare so that you spend the least amount of time in cooking. You can opt for the meals that are easy to make depending on your taste as well as your family’s. Also note down the regular events like music and ballet classes, softball practice, etc. This information is just so you can plan your meals accordingly, nothing else. This way you will know for sure how much time you have to prepare your meal.
3. Assign different themes to each night of the week
To keep it varying and interesting, assign a different theme to each night of the week. It will not only be interesting, but it will also help you add structure to your plan. You can plan for anything depending on your schedule. For example, if you have late soccer practice on Monday, you can prepare for it beforehand because you know you won’t be able to do it after you return. On Fridays, you might not be in the mood to cook so you can assign Fridays as homemade pizza or wrap day. Other themes that you can consider are:
- meat-free meals
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- slow cooker meals
- cold cuts
- roast dinner
- Or any other thing
4. Family Requests
This might be more trouble than you anticipated, but it is something that you should look into. Generally, people are more willing to eat the food that they requested. As long as it works for you, you can have every member of the family suggest one meal every week.
5. Write your plan
Once all the meals are decided, comes the final part. Work through each day and write down your plan for that day. Make sure to write down the meal that you want to cook, the ingredients that you need for it, and the recipe for that meal.
Follow these easy tips to create the ultimate meal plan that will be healthy, time-saving, fun to make and fun to eat. You can also include your family in the planning as well as the cooking phase and make it a family bonding event. Stay healthy!
About The Author:
Christine Rudolph is a passionate lifestyle blogger. She is an enthusiastic writer, inclined towards ever-changing trends. For more updates follow her on Twitter @RudolphBlogger.