Meal planning is something I started doing a couple of years ago to not only budget our money, but also my time each week in the grocery store AND cooking. It has been one of the most important things that I have done for a structured routine. If I miss a week of meal planning, I really am thrown off. So, this is a great thing for keeping me focused and also, forces me to sit down and look at what DG and I have each week.
DG and I both took on new jobs in the evenings this fall. Meal planning around our schedules and my barre classes really does make it important to have meals that are not only healthy but also time efficient. I don’t have time to do a ton of cooking and cleaning up during the week.
Here’s how we meal plan each week:
1. Keep a running list of items needed in a central location.
For us, we keep a market list (this one is my favorite) in one of our kitchen drawers are write down items needed. I use this list to determine if I’m going to do an Amazon Prime Pantry order or if we’ll just pick the items up from our weekly trip to the store. This helps for two reasons. It keeps me from making daily trips to Target where I cannot control myself in the one spot. And also, because we are aware of what items we have in our house. There was a time we had a gazillion candles and lightbulbs because we’d just pick random things up. It started cluttering our storage spaces and I can’t stand that.
2. Track meals.
I use May Designs Meal Planner to write down meal ideas each Sunday. I sit down on Sunday mornings to prepare for the week ahead and DG and I talk about meals we’d like to see. I do pull up Pinterest and DG and I will talk about different recipes we may want to try. I also track our meals on my Google Calendar so I can make sure we’re not eating the same things over and over again. I also utilize my Google Calendar for when DG and I have late evenings so we can alternate who cooks.
My Emily Ley Simplified Planner has a space for meals, too. I use that in case I do forget an ingredient so I can write it in my to-do list for the grocery store.
3. Post meal ideas in the kitchen.
I have a blackboard I picked up from Magnolia Market where I post our weekly meals. Since we shop one day a week, sometimes we may change up if our cravings are different or if we have an unexpected busy evening. However, it cuts down on us wasting food because we will cook what we’ve bought.
I’ve found that this works best for DG and me and keeps us on track. Full disclosure: we eat dinner late. Like, rarely before 9:00PM. This is something we’ve done since we started dating because of our schedules and we’ve never broken that habit.
Do you meal plan your meals each week? Any secrets on making it easier?
Hope you’re having a great Wednesday! We’re halfway to Friday!