I used to hate the idea of meal planning. It was surely just another thing to fill my plate of busy up, and was for people who had it all together.
SPOLER ALERT: my life became easier when I started meal planning. Meal planning was actually for people who didn't have it all together. Who knew? ;) Monday came and I felt in control. I had a plan for the rest of the week. I had all of the groceries I needed.
Here are some suggested steps to taking control of meals on busy weeks:
BEFORE WE EVEN GET STARTED: Download the app Handpick. I LOVE this app! You can fill in what ingredients you have, and it'll come up with all sorts of recipes for you! Amazing.
Read a blog post from The Tree Hugger on Handpick here.
Photo from The Tree Hugger
1. On Sunday, get out a cookbook (or get your computer), sticky notes, and a piece of paper.
Here are some of my favorite online food blogs to find recipes:
1. Budget Bytes
2. Pinch of Yum
3. Skinny Mom
7. PINTEREST! There are a million and one ideas for recipes on there.
Bonus! Here's an article from BuzzFeed for 27 healthy recipes with only 5 ingredients.
*Our Festival Foods grocery store in Appleton always has a sale on cookbooks. I've gotten so many awesome books from there, including the Mayo Clinic Cookbook 2nd Edition, Pioneer Woman, etc. I also love going to the local library and looking through new cookbooks!
Screenshot taken from my Pinterest board.
2. Find recipes you'd like to make that week. Put a sticky note in the page, or pin them to a Pinterest board.
3. Once you have your recipes, write down the ingredients you'll need.
4. Grocery shop for those items.
*You're shopping for only the necessities, which will eliminate so much wasted food, as well as wasted money!
Give meal planning a shot for at least 1 week. You'll be surprised how much less stress you have, and how much money you save not going to Jimmy John's cause you don't feel like cooking!
Photo from Foodie Crush.
Other tips for taking control of cooking:
5. Prepare on the weekend.
- Cook meat such as chicken, beef, pork, etc. You'll have them ready for quick lunches, or to throw in your dinners to save time!
- Cook rice, veggies, anything you can do to cook ahead of time will make your week of meals a lot less stressful!
- Cut up any veggies you'll need for your recipes. That way you can quickly throw them into the pan or Crock Pot.
6. Use a Crock Pot! Taylor and I are still blown away at this invention. So wonderful!
7. I've heard SO many wonderful reviews about the Instant Pot.
- It cooks a chicken in 20 minutes. Saves so much time on everything! It's definitely on my wish list. I've yet to hear a bad review about them.
And there you have it! I hope these tips will help save you some time in your cooking routine. What have you found helps you take control of cooking on busy weeks? Comment below!
Photo from Food52