I am a huge fan of meal planning! It saves you money, time and most importantly it greatly reduces food waste. In our home we have been meal planning on a weekly basis for the past year and a bit and it has made a huge difference in making our week simple and stress free.
Key benefits we have noticed:
- We only have to cook 3-4 times a week (I’m happy to eat the same thing 2 days in a row).
- More importantly we share the cooking, as neither of us love cooking (but we both enjoy healthy and tasty food). We typically cook 2 times each during the week, which suits us just fine.
- We only go to the grocery store once a week and get everything we need in one go. No need to run and ‘top up’ shop every second day!
- It keeps our grocery budget down. When you have a meal plan in place and ingredients in the fridge it is way harder to justify takeaway for dinner. That said, we still make exceptions every now and then on days when we really don’t want to cook… 🙂
How to meal plan
- Start with weekly meal planning. Planning in longer time periods can be harder for some when you first get started.
- Pick a few of your standard dishes that you know how to make and that suit your current budget. If you need some inspiration for new recipes I love this website for meal prep ideas, otherwise Google or YouTube is full of simple and healthy meal ideas that are very affordable to make.
- Grab a piece of paper or a small whiteboard and write the plan down.
- You don’t have to love cooking to meal plan! I have never loved cooking, but I really enjoy to eat healthy on a budget, so that means that I sometimes have to cook.
- Allow things to move around within the week if plans change, but don’t waste food. We sometimes move around the day we’ll be eating/cooking a certain dish, but we always use the ingredients (especially fresh produce) in the week we planned to. So much food in this world is thrown in the trash every year which makes me so sad.
- You can set challenges for yourself as you progress. If you are looking to save money, eat less meat or whatever your goal is, you can set a challenge for yourself during a week/month to focus a bit extra on that. It’s really cool to see what you can achieve when you set your intention and stick to it!