Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Five: 5 Steps to Meal Planning

One of my goals for 2015 is to meal plan.  I want to do this for two reasons.  First, I want to try and reduce the stress of coming home and trying to figure out what's for dinner.  When I've meal planned in the past, everything is ready to go and I don't have to worry about it throughout the day.  Second, I want to reduce the amount of food we are throwing out each week.  We'll buy some produce thinking we'll make it as a side dish for a meal, and then a week and a half later, it's stinking up our fridge.  Not only is it wasteful because there are plenty of people in this world that need food, but it wastes our money, as well.

So, since I want to start meal planning next week, so here are the five steps I'm going to take in the meal planning process!  I'm mainly posting this to get myself in to gear, BUT if anyone has thought about meal planning before and wasn't sure how to do it, I hope this helps you :)
1.  Look through recipes.  This includes both recipes I've already made and loved, as well as finding new recipes.  I'll be using Pinterest and my new Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that I got for Christmas during this process!
2. Map out the meals for the week.  This mainly entails figuring out what each night's dinner will be.  I usually will have the same thing for breakfast each day during the week (though I will need to figure out what that is), and normally I'll have salad for lunch.  However, I am going to be intentional about those meals, as well as have ideas for snacks throughout the week, even if that doesn't change from day to day.
Old meal plan I've used before
3. Make a list of ingredients/items needed and inventory the kitchen/pantry.  After I know what we'll be having each day during the week, I'll need to make sure I have the ingredients on hand for those meals!  I'll look through my kitchen and see what I have and make notes of what and how much I'll need to purchase.

4. Make a grocery list and go shopping!  Once I know what I'll need for the week, I've got my grocery list and I'll be ready to get to the store.  I plan to stick to that list and only buy things off of the list if they're on sale and I know I'll need in the future (i.e. buy-1-get-1 packages of chicken breasts, etc.)

5. Food prep over the weekend.  Once I get home from the store, I'm going to prepare the food for the week RIGHT THEN.  If I wait, I know that it won't happen.  This will include chopping vegetables for salads, precooking anything that I can to make it easier during the week (for example, I'm planning to make a casserole next week that I can eat for lunch eat day), and portion things out.  Anything that I can get done before the work week gets rolling will certainly help with me sticking to my meal plan!

There you have it!  Hopefully I'll stick with my plan for this weekend and I'll be able to report back next week with how all of this went!

I'm linking up today with the DC Trifecta bloggers (Courtney from Eat, Pray, Run DC, Cynthia from You Signed Up For What?!, and Mar from Mar on the Run) for Friday Five!  Head over to any of their blogs to see what other Friday Five participants are talking about today.

Question for you: Do you meal plan?  What's one of your favorite recipes that I should check out?


  1. i do a version of meal planning - i pick 2 to 3 things to make during the week/weekend and go from there -- shopping based on what i'll need. your plan sounds great!

  2. There are great tips I am terrible at this. I try to plan our meals so that I can map out healthy options. But then by midweek I seem to get derailed. I think I need to do more food prep over the weekend!

  3. Meal prep can be hard for me sine I don't have the average 9-5 job. I try to do three days at a time instead of doing a week meal prep. I've noticed I waste less food that way. Good tips!