Learning how to create a meal plan is not difficult, but it does require some effort. Here are four simple steps to get you started!What is your grocery budget?
- What is your grocery budget? First, consider how much money you have available to spend on food for the week. If you want to eat healthier for less money (and who doesn’t?), look for sales and seasonal produce. Your local farmer’s market can be an excellent option for finding healthy foods for less money and you will also be helping the local economy.
- How many meals do you need to plan for? Pause for a few minutes and think about all of the activities you have going on next week. Taking stock of your family’s plans will provide you with a quick estimate of how many meals you’ll need to plan for the upcoming week. You’ll also need to consider how much “stretch” you’ll need to get from each recipe you cook. Ask yourself questions like, will this meal last as long as I need it to.
- How much time do you have? If the upcoming week is going to be super busy, be on the lookout for recipes you can cook in a crockpot or meals you can prepare ahead and serve quickly. Personally, we are fans of the cook one time, eat two (or three!) times approach.
- What foods are you in the mood for? What foods sound good to you on any particular day can be influenced by your personal cravings, changes in the seasons, or even the weather. Taking these things into consideration ahead of time will make the process of choosing recipes faster and make meal times simpler for everyone involved. If it is expected to be a cold week, soups would be perfect whereas if it is going to be a hot week, use leftover rotisserie chicken for chicken salads and more.
Once you’ve taken all of these elements into account, it will simply be a matter of writing your meals down, making a list of the ingredients you need, and one trip to the grocery store. Happy eating!