Becoming an expert meal planner may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite easy. Even if you’ve never taken up the time saving, money saving, stress decreasing practice of planning your meals ahead, you can start meal planning in 3 easy steps:
Start Meal Planning Step 1: Lay Some Meal Planning Ground-rules
Lay some ground-rules and stick to them. For me, I like my ground-rules to force me to inject variety into my weekly plan. So, I stick to a rule like this: In a 7 day week, I plan 1 meal each of red meat, chicken, pork, seafood and no meat. The other two meals are wild cards – whatever else I want to make that week. Also, I won’t make the same meal twice within two months. This both forces me to space out recipes I like (helping me to plan forward) and makes sure I’m not serving the same thing in repetition.
Start Meal Planning Step 2: Pick a Meal Planning Tool
However you plan your meals, you should pick a tool to schedule them out. This can be anything from a daily planner to an excel sheet to an online tool. Personally, I love a great online meal planning tool called Plan to Eat. Plan to Eat allows you to import recipes either manually or easily from any website you find. It’s very easy to quickly build an online stash of hundreds of recipes. Planning recipes is as easy as boiling water – just drag and drop them into place. The service does come with a modest annual charge of about $30, but you can try it for free for 30 days.
Start Meal Planning Step 3: Plan a week and get started
Once you’ve got those two easy steps done, it’s time to get started. Simply plan out a week’s worth of meals, get your grocery list together and head to the store. (Did I mention, Plan to Eat will automatically generate shopping lists for you for any date range your choose?). When you’re done, come back and let me know how your first week of planning went. You’re bound to run into an obstacle or two, but before long you’ll be a meal planning pro!
Still have questions? Hit me up on Twitter @mealplanHQ or at Facebook.com/MealPlanHQ today!0