Meal Planning

woman-shopping-grocery-store

When you’re busy, sometimes it can be hard to find time to cook for yourself. I find it very, very helpful to pick a day (for me, Sunday) to plan out a week’s worth of meals.  It takes the guesswork out of everything!  Follow these simple steps to creating a quick and easy meal plan to get you through the week in a healthy way.

1.  Write out a chart for the week: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks.  (or, print this one).

2. Look at your schedule, and cross off any meals that you *don’t* need to prepare (e.g., if you have plans to eat out, have a lunch meeting, etc.)

3. For the rest of the meals, start to brainstorm some ideas for what you’d like to have.  Make sure you take into account that you’ll tire of the same foods after a few days, so mix it up!  Write down different meals in each slot.  (Note: you don’t have to actually eat spaghetti on Wednesday night, but at least you’ll have the ingredients on hand for Tuesday or Thursday).

If you need ideas for quick, simple recipes, some of my go-to websites are 101 Cookbooks, Mark Bittman’s blog,  and Foodista.

4. Cook once, eat twice!  Learn to love leftovers, either for lunch the next day or as a foundation for the next night’s meal. Take leftovers into account as you prepare your meal plan.

5. Make a shopping list. Go to the store and buy as much of the food as you can.  This way, you’ll have it in your home and won’t have to think about it again until it’s time to prepare the food.

6. When you get home and don’t want to think anymore–just look at your meal plan, take out the ingredients, and cook away!

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