Meal planning doesn’t have to be a headache. In fact, meal planning can make your life easier! Follow a few simple tips that will make meal planning easy!
Most people when they think of meal planning think about dinner. But how many times have you planned out your dinners, done the shopping and prepping, and realize you have nothing for breakfast or lunch?
I have been there way too many times than I like to admit. I am always worried about what I am going to feed my family for dinner and totally forget about what I am going to eat during the day.
Once I started realizing this, I began incorporating ALL meals into my meal planning. It does take a little more time when meal planning but once you start doing it, it will get easier!
Ready to start? I am going to walk you through my meal planning below!
Meal Planning Made Easy!
Schedule your meals a week in advance. This is one of the most important planning tips for meals. Knowing what you are going to eat throughout the week means less chance that you will stop off at the closest fast food joint for a convenient, but unhealthy meal. Decide on the last day of the previous week (I like to do this on Sundays) what the menu will be for the following week.
I use my planner to write down our meals for the week. This helps me look at our schedule and decide which nights need a quick dinner. I also like to put a star next to the recipes that everyone loved so I can put them into rotation.
Read the circular. Not only does the circular tell you what is on sale but there are valuable coupons as well! This not only helps me decide which meals to make throughout the week but I can use sales and coupons to maximize my grocery budget. If pork tenderloin is on sale, then I know I’ll be making the family favorite Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin!
Prep in advance. After I come home, I could easily just put everything away in the fridge and deal with it later. But when I do that, I find we waste a lot of food. Instead, I make sure I take the time to chop up those fruits and veggies and even prep some meals. If you cut your fruits and veggies in advance, the more likely you will actually use them! It will save you time when you are trying to get out the door in the morning or trying to get dinner on the table on a busy night.
Don’t skip “convenience” foods. On particularly busy weeks, I reach for pre-cut veggies, like zoodles, sweet potato fries, and frittata mix! And, if I’m being totally honest, I always buy diced onion. It saves me from standing at my kitchen counter weeping while cutting. Having these pre-cut veggies on hand I can easily throw some of our favorite recipes together.
Another convenience food I always purchase is a rotisserie chicken. There are so many things you can do with a rotisserie chicken and I can get about three meals out of just one chicken! You can use rotisserie chicken in casseroles, chicken salad, and top your salads for the week. When the chicken is gone, you aren’t done with it just yet! Turn the leftovers into chicken stock! You can use this stock to make soup and in your one pot dinners.
Now that you know the basics of meal planning down, it’s time to actually do your meal plan! Remember, we are taking all meals into account when planning our meals for the week.
Healthy Meal Planning
I am sharing with you what my typical meal plan looks like. Don’t skip my extra tips below!
Breakfast: Overnight Oats (These can be prepped on Sunday and last a few days! See the recipe below.)
Lunch: Salad in a Jar (This another lunch that you can prep on the weekends! If you aren’t going to eat the next day, you can skip the dressing in your jar so your salad doesn’t get soggy.)
Dinner: Easy Fried Rice with Chicken (Remember that rotisserie chicken you bought? You are going to use the chicken in this meal. Bonus? Use cauliflower rice to make this dinner even healthier!)
Breakfast: Overnight Oats
Lunch: Salad in a Jar
Dinner: Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables (When looking at my planner, I know that Tuesdays are one of the nights where we need a quick dinner! One pot dinners are perfect for when you need to get dinner on the table quickly.)
Breakfast: Egg Muffins
Lunch: Barbecue Chicken Pinwheels (Another great way to use up that rotisserie chicken.)
Dinner: Rustic Italian Bowls (Remember those zoodles you bought? Here is where you are going to use them!
Breakfast: Egg Muffins
Lunch: Easy Chicken Lettuce Wraps (This is one of my favorite lunches! You can make the filling ahead of time. Heat, wrap, and you are good to go!)
Dinner: Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin (This is such a quick and easy meal! Bonus points if you score a pork tenderloin on sale! I always buy a few when they are on sale and freeze for later.)