We live in such a busy world that planning anything is tricky—we never know how things can change and affect our schedules. That’s why people mostly avoid doing meal planning. However, meal planning is easier than it sounds. With just a few planning tips and great recipes, you can have a fresh and tasty meal that will help you reach your fitness goals in no time and save some serious money.
Look through recipes
This is probably the most interesting part of meal planning. Go look around the internet and hit cookbooks to find some interesting recipes you can include in your diet. And don’t think you have to start from scratch every week—let most of your recipes be well-known staples for you, and enrich your menu with one or two new additions.
Start a calendar
Now that you have a handful of recipes that attract you, you can start organizing your meals. The Google Calendar is a good digital choice, but you can go old-school with a pen and paper. Put in your meal plan for the next few days or weeks and you’ll always have access to it so you can make changes and add new recipes.
Shopping is the most important part of meal planning. People who are successful in meal planning usually make a comprehensive shopping list before they hit the store. Study your recipes, see what you’re missing, put it on the shopping list and go shopping, sticking to the list as much as you can. If you can’t find something you need for your meals, you can check out online and get things delivered to your doorstep just in time for the next meal. However, meal planning is not an exact science so you can do without certain specific ingredients.
Rely on help
Sometimes, unforeseen things happen and you can’t stick to your meal plan. In that case, feel free to rely on food delivery services like FoodSt that will deliver amazing meals to your doorstep when you’re too busy or unable to cook. These services have a ton of meals that fit every diet and will fill any holes in your meal plan. So if you know you can’t stick to your eating schedule for the day, just order something from delivery services and you’ll get home-cooked meals prepared by chefs just in time for lunch or dinner.
If you’re a cook on a budget, you can organize your meals around sales. For instance, if you find super cheap chickpeas, add one or two meals with these nutritious legumes to your meal plan. You can check your favorite grocery store’s newsletter with sales, check what’s cheap and study recipes with these ingredients. This way, you can save some money and still end up with delicious, nutritious and easy meals on your cooking schedule.
Don’t buy too many things at the store, otherwise, you can get overwhelmed when you open the fridge. Things can get lost in the fridge, stuck behind other things and left to rot. It’s best to keep your fridge light, with a sensible amount of things you can realistically eat in a few days. Stopping by the store weekly or twice a week will ensure you have the freshest ingredients and prevent overcrowding of your fridge.
Don’t neglect leftovers
Leftovers are not the most satisfying thing, but we all tolerate them. To reduce the amount of time you have to spend in the kitchen to keep up with your meal plan, you can always cook a little bit more of every meal so you can have something for dinner or tomorrow’s lunch. In many cases, leftovers only need a bit of work and they will taste amazing or fit perfectly as a side dish for your main dish. If you don’t like to eat the same thing two days in a row, you can freeze your leftovers and use them throughout the week. Best dishes to freeze and reheat are stir-fries, Bolognese sauce, lasagna, tikka masala, burritos, etc.
Once you find a bunch of easy recipes and a few that look good for you but might challenge your skills, you’re ready to plan your first week of meals. Hit the store with your list, stick to it and be smart with leftovers. In time, you’ll develop great cooking and shopping habits and improve your eating habits while saving money.