I'm such a procrastinator and when it comes to the ways to plan your weekly meals, there's no exception for me! I put it off until usually that very day and then make a trip to the grocery store for literally one meal. While I stay home with my son mostly and take care of him and our home, this method doesn't seem to work well for efficiency and budget purposes. Thinking through all the ways to plan your weekly meals and what has worked wonderfully for me in the past, I decided to share some of them with you! Here are some go-to ways that can make meal planning more fun and efficient!
1. Budget for the Month
One of the best ways to plan your weekly meals is to first set a budget. I can't tell you how many times I've failed to plan ahead and then wished we had an unlimited food budget because of my over-spending at the beginning of the month. It can be hard to stick to it, but with some planning in advance, it's totally doable! Set a maximum food budget first and then you're able to plan around it for weekly meals.
2. Plan Your Nightly Schedules for the Upcoming Week
For most of us, there are nights during the week that are taken up by dates, girl's nights and varying events. Look at the upcoming schedule for the week and see which nights you don't have to prepare meals at home. This will limit any last-minute meal planning and prepare you better for the upcoming week!
3. Select Favorite Meals and Rotate Them
I'm sure you can think of meals that were a huge hit with your roommates or significant other! Write down a list of favorites and a list of recipes you would like to try for something new. Then rotate them for consistency and expectancy within the home (like fish taco Tuesdays). It makes it easier for grocery shopping and planning as well. And we all love to eat meals that we know are delicious, healthy and satisfying!
4. Check out Pinterest for New Recipe Ideas
If you're stuck in a recipe rut or are just bored with the same old foods, check out websites like Pinterest for new recipes to try! I have a Pinterest board of meals that I always go back to and it's really convenient not only for ideas, but a shopping list and cooking instructions as well.
5. Make a Shopping List Every Sunday and Go Once a Week
You can save yourself a lot of time and energy by making only a weekly trip to the grocery store! Little things like milk or cheese may run out, but you won't have to return to the store for bigger meals if you plan correctly and in advance for the week. You also stay on budget this way!
6. Look for Local Deals!
Different grocery stores carry the best quality of certain items and the most cost-efficient foods are also different depending on the store. Ask around and get opinions on the best deals and where to go specifically for freshness and quality. Then look for local coupons and deals and take advantage of them! Your once a week shopping trip may take a while but will definitely save you money in the long run.
7. Organize Favorite Recipes in a Cute Binder
I have collected piles of recipes that were just sitting loose in a folder for quite a while. Not very practical! I decided to make a project out of it and place them in a cute binder for my own personal cook book! They are mostly magazine clippings and print outs of favorite recipes and ones I would like to try. They're organized by category, too, like meats, vegetarian dishes, side dishes, drinks and desserts. It makes locating a recipe easy and handy. For quicker grocery shopping, I just pull out the plastic covered recipe and roll it into my purse!
I actually don't enjoy cooking- I feel like it takes a long time and it's difficult to stay in the kitchen with a toddler who needs constant loving attention! So, easy, go-to meals are my best friend these days! What are some of the ways that you plan your weekly meals? Any favorite meals you have on a weekly basis?