Friday, November 4, 2016

Meal Planning 101

On average weekday do you cook dinner? I do; it is cost effective, great if you have a sensitive tummy or dietary restrictions, and delicious (if I do say so myself!) Unfortunately, it can also be time-consuming. There are a few solutions to mitigate that issue, one of which is having an idea of what your meals are going to look like in advance. Yes, it is possible to know what you are going to eat every night of the week before the week starts. No, this isn't psychic magic I am talking about, I am talking about meal planning. It is something that saves me time, keeps me from stressing over what's for dinner or ordering take out all the time, and ensures that I stay focused when I'm at the grocery store instead of picking up seven that pint of Ben and Jerry's. Normally I like to do this part of my routine on a Thursday or Friday when the grocery stores are rolling out circulars for the following week.  After you have gone through the below steps you will have an idea of what your dinners will look like for the following week and enjoy worrying about other things like what show on your DVR to start bingeing on after dinner.
  • Get a notebook/journal/legal pad/napkin basically anywhere you can write your meal plan down. I have a notebook where I write my meal plan for the week on one side and on the other side my grocery list but, you do you. 
  • Look at your weekly schedule for the following week. What are the nights that you are going to be home and have a chance to cook? What are the nights when you have plans and will be otherwise indisposed? What are the nights when all you plan to do is eat ice cream leftovers or order out?
  • For the days when you will be home and able to cook there are few places to look for meal inspiration based on what you find in the below sources think about 5/6 meals that you can cobble together in a reasonably quick time frame. Personally, if I have to spend more that 45 minutes prepping/cooking a meal after coming home from work I have become a hangry monster and you won't like me when I'm hangry. Check:
    • Your Pantry/Fridge - What kind of shelf stable things do you have lying around? Is there an interesting spice blend or marinade that you want to give a try? 
    • Weekly Circulars - What kind of produce is on sale? Are there any interesting that you have been wanting to try at home but, haven't gotten a chance to? This might be the perfect opportunity to do so?  
    • Pinterest/Cookbooks - Once you start cooking meals regularly it is very easy to fall into a routine which will get old quickly. Spice things up (figuratively and perhaps literally) and try something new every once in a while.
A photo posted by Iris (@260daysnorepeats) on

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