Planning meals in advance will help you and your family eat healthy throughout the week (no more last minute pizza deliveries or take out runs). A little effort up front will save you both time and energy in the long run. The following steps will help you plan meals for the week quickly and efficiently:
1. Make a master meals list.
I prefer to keep all my recipes written on index cards in a recipe box so they are all in one place. Don’t forget to add new recipes you learn to it.
2. Check your calendar.
On busy days select easy meals. On really busy days schedule a left-overs night or pre-made freezer meal. Save new recipes and complicated meals for days you have more time.
3. Create your meal plan.
Check your fridge / pantry to see what ingredients you have and what you need to use. Plan your meals accordingly cross referencing your master meals list, calendar, and ingredients on hand.
4. Make a shopping list.
After you create your meal plan pull out the corresponding recipes and check your ingredients. Make sure anything you need goes on your list. This will limit distractions at the grocery store by keeping you focused on what you need. No more going to the store to buy milk, purchasing a hundred dollars worth of groceries, and realizing you forgot the milk when you get home.
5. Make freezer meals.
Fresh is always best, but a back up freezer meal is better than take out when you may not have the time or energy to cook. Freezer meals work great with casseroles, soups / stews, and crockpot meals.
To make freezer meals simply prepare two or more meals in one cooking session. Use one of the meals for dinner that night and freeze the other for a go-to quick and easy healthy dinner. By doubling a recipe you’ll save prep, cook, and clean-up time in the future and always have a healthy back-up meal on hand.