I am willing to bet that you are so busy that eating well is difficult and takes extra time that you don’t have, just like the rest of us. As it turns out there’s a way around that: weekly meal planning. Creating a weekly meal plan saves time, money, and helps prevent you from having to eat poorly when you are away from home. Make it a priority to plan out your meals and you will eat healthier as a result.
I use Sunday as a weekly meal planning day to shop and prepare. If you don’t work a traditional work week, then use any day that you have some extra time. It doesn’t take that long depending what you plan to make. On my fridge, I write down what we are eating each day so that we are never stuck wondering what to eat or tempted to order in.
Tips on weekly meal planning
Leftovers – Leftovers are great. You can see above that the same meal is written many times. Make more than you need for easy lunches or another dinner the next night. That makes putting it in a bowl and taking it to work easy enough.
Prepare – One day is dedicated to prepare all lunches or snacks. I don’t mean ALL day either. This greek salad was prepared on the first day of the week for the whole week. It just takes cutting up the tomatoes, onions, preparing meat if you want, and putting ingredients into containers.
Grocery list – Always use a list at the store to prevent overspending which can lead to wasting food and impulse buys. Order your list so that it matches the layout of your grocery store so you can save time by not running back and forth between the produce department and frozen foods aisle.
Slow cooker – Try planning a slow cooker meal at least once per week. You can throw the ingredients together before you head out the door and the meal will be ready when you get home from work. This ties into “leftovers” as a crock pot can typically hold quite a few servings. Unfortunately the slow cooker is not a favorite in my home (the husband has a thing against slow cookers), but it can be useful for many.
Overlap ingredients – Get ingredients that are going to be used in multiple meals throughout the week. We often have a salad and tacos in a week and the spinach, tomatoes, and peppers can be used for both. This can help to prevent wasting food and money. If you don’t use something, try to freeze it to be used at a later time.
- Budget – Read my posts how to eat healthy on a budget and how I save money for healthier food.
- Not knowing what to make- Use the internet or pull out a cookbook. Pinterest is a site for recipe ideas. You can even search in Google with the ingredients you have and you will find something that has been made. For example, I have mushrooms, ground beef, and green beans. Type those in and add “recipe” and you may find what you need.
- No time to cook when home- Make more slow cooker meals. These are easy and take very little time to prepare. The time you spend going out or in a drive through is likely longer.
- Not knowing how to cook- As I have mentioned before in my first post, learning to cook is one of the most important things you can do. Look up recipes and follow instructions. Order online food deliveries that help you out even more if you have the budget for it (Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Home Chef).
Fresh Idea: Weekly meal planning will save money and improve health.