How to Meal Plan!

Blog | January 27th, 2012

One spot that we have seen people struggle with is how to save money on their food bill. Whether you are going to the grocery store too much or eating out too much, keeping you and your family fed can cost a lot of money. Have you tried developing a meal plan? They are a great way to plan out all of your food for the week and keep track of your shopping list. To top it all off, they are extremely easy to do! Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of these meal plans and how you can put one into practice.

When you are starting out, decide what format you want to use. There are many different methods so get creative! Posting a dry erase board will make it easy to make changes on the fly and prevent wasted paper. If you are tech savvy, make a spreadsheet on your computer. No matter which method you use, make sure it’s structured so that you can plan out your entire week and post it somewhere. It’s most helpful to post your meal plans in the kitchen so that you have a constant reminder of what you’re making and when.

Now that you have a plan for how to implement your meal plan, it’s time to figure out your strategy for the week! Start by taking a short tour around your kitchen. Check your pantry and refrigerator to see what you already have and what you can build around. If you have a spare can of cream of mushroom soup lying around, you can make a casserole on Wednesday! If you have some pasta lying around, then the possibilities are endless! Let the creative juices flow and see what you can do!

Try to organize your ideas by categories of items. This will help you plan out your ideas more effectively and help to prevent you from making similar meals back-to-back. Now is also the time to start listing the recipes that you want to cook for meals. This list can always be added to so don’t feel like this needs to be an end all, be all for your dining habits. This is mostly to cut down on the decision making process and save you time at the store.

Once you have all of your recipes, you can start planning out where you want them to go.  Make it fun! Have specific types of meals be on specific days. You can do a meatless Monday or fish on Friday! Do it however you like! If you have a blank spot in your schedule, try something new. That way if it doesn’t work out, you can get rid of it and move something else in next week. If you still want to enjoy going out, you can plan ahead for that too. Choose a night that you want to eat out at a restaurant for dinner and make that the only night you go out. By doing it this way, you won’t be tempted to go out other times of the week and you will have something to look forward to for your meals!

Meal planning is a great way to strategize your meals and save you both time and money at the grocery store. It’s also a great way to avoid spending too much in the fast food line, so start using one today!