One of my very favourite things to do with my husband is meal planning. Strange, I know, but it’s a nice way to connect about the week and see what’s on the agenda, while also planning for our dinners. This helps us in so many ways; limits our grocery bills, cuts down on food waste, and helps to keep me sane when running from meeting to meeting. It’s a great help to know that we have done the necessary shopping and that our meals are agreed upon, so there aren’t any surprises when I get home from work. Here are some of my favourite tips for meal planning, to help make your week and month run more smoothly.
Budget: Set out your grocery budget for the week. This will help to decide what you can afford, and whether you need to create a few meals with less meat, or add some inexpensive items like beans to the menu. Setting the budget ahead of time helps so there are no surprises when you head to the grocery store.
Print a Meal Planner: There are hundreds of printable calendars and meal planners available online. These are life savers for me, as they give you different sections and help with the grocery shopping as well. It makes it easier to visualize, instead of just creating a list on a scrap piece of paper.
Meals: If you have a few favourite meals that you know you want to add to your week, put those in first. Then, use some sites like Pinterest or Epicurious to search for some fun dinner ideas to suit your tastes and and the cooking time you have. I always check the cook & prep time on any recipe, because if they need a lot of time or attention, I most likely won’t be able to fit that in after work.
Match the Calendar: One thing to remember to do is match your meal plan calendar to your agenda for the week. There is nothing worse than pulling something out for dinner when you remember you have an event to go to. If you have cross checked your week with your meals, it’s much easier to allot the correct amount of time to your dinner before you run out the door again!