January 08, 2020

Single, a family, or helping take care of others, our meals are part of everyday life. Frequently eating out can be taxing on the wallet and body. While cooking at home is healthier and more affordable, it takes time.

Even though we’re all busy, with the following simple suggestions, we can make meal planning happen with less stress.

1. Think of your favorites.
The only thing better than thinking of your favorite foods is eating them, right? So what better place to start with meal planning than deciding what you want to eat. If there’s others in the household, let them weigh in on meal ideas too.

2. Make a grocery list.
Whether you prepare similar meals each week or are experimenting with new recipes, write a list of the items you’ll need to buy, so as to grab them all in one shopping trip. If you see particular items on sale, this may afford a prime opportunity to be flexible on your menu plan and branch out.

3. Do some advanced preparation.
If you’re cooking each evening, you may find prepping some ingredients a few days in advance saves time. Cooking several larger meals on a day of the weekend can allow you to refrigerate dishes as ready-made dinners for later. Don’t forget to utilize time-savers like Instapots or slow cookers, which take a bit of prep in the morning, but allow you to come home to a delightful smelling kitchen and a hot meal.

4. Love leftovers.
They heat up quickly and often make budget-friendly packed lunches too. If you can cook up enough food that allows for leftovers, you can use these throughout the week or even plan an entire dinner to eat up any stray meals.

5. Have fun.
As Buddy Valastro says, “The key to a good meal is simplicity and the right seasoning.” Whether you’re cooking up “themed” dishes, trying new recipes, or preparing old favorites, enjoy your meals. After all, meal planning is just the start. From there, it’s up to you to eat and enjoy!