Meal planning can seem like a daunting task, but with a little organisation and creativity, it can actually save you time, money, and stress. With these 22 easy meal planning tips, you can create simple weekly family meal plans that are healthy, tasty, and convenient.
Set aside some time each week to plan your meals. This could be on a weekend or a weeknight, but make sure it's a consistent time that works for you.
Take inventory of what you already have in your cupboards and fridge. This will help you avoid buying unnecessary ingredients and save money.
Decide on a theme for each night of the week, such as Meatless Monday or Taco Tuesday. This can help with variety and creativity.
Make a list of your family's favourite meals and include them in your meal plan. This will ensure everyone is happy and satisfied.
Look up recipes online, in cookbooks, or from friends and family. Don't be afraid to try something new when you have more time – save it for the weekend!
Choose recipes that use similar ingredients to help minimise waste.
Consider using a slow cooker for easy and convenient meal prep.
Prep ingredients when the shopping arrives home, such as washing salad and vegetables, chopping veg that will last, and marinating anything that you can. This can save time during the week.
Use leftovers creatively, such as turning them into a salad for lunch the next day.
Keep a running shopping list throughout the week, so you know what to buy when it's time to go shopping.
Do your food shopping on the same day each week, and stick to your list to avoid impulse buys.
Buy in bulk when possible, to save money, but make sure you can use the ingredients before they expire.
Shop at farmers' markets or local farms for fresh and seasonal produce.
Take advantage of sales and discounts when shopping.
Consider buying frozen vegetables and fruits for easy and quick meal prep.
Make double batches of meals and freeze the extras for future meals.
Use meal delivery services or meal kit services for convenience and variety.
Plan the meals that you find more difficult to eat mindfully to prevent mindless picking and grazing in between meals.
Involve your family in meal planning and preparation if that is an option. This can be a fun and educational experience.
Don't be too hard on yourself if you don't stick to your meal plan perfectly. It's okay to be flexible and adjust as needed.
Keep track of your meal plans and recipes in a notebook or in a digital format for future reference.
Celebrate your small successes and progress. Meal planning can be challenging, but it’s a skill that takes practice.