What is a Meal Plan?
You received the good news: Meal planning would improve your life by saving you time and money and at the same time reducing stress. So once and for all, it will remove those dreaded moments of standing in front of the refrigerator wondering what to do for dinner. You know some of the advantages, but you might not be sure exactly what meal planning is, or even where to start. We are here to assist.
The Meal Plan Process
Step 1: Select your day of meal planning
Some families have some downtime every week … it’s usually Sunday evenings.
There’s no job out there that day. No practices of an extracurricular sort. Few kids are in a hurry to finish homework.
Our Home Day is Sunday. Our Rest Day, as you like.
So … Sunday night is the perfect day of meal-planning.
The night we pop open a bottle of wine and discuss how to make a meal plan for the week to come that works for us and our children.
Step 2: Update your Weekly Calendar
If you’re trying to find out how to create a meal plan for one … for a couple … or a team … you need to start your calendar with that.
Ideas for meal preparation are just as successful as the time you have to commit to them.
When you’re working late on Tuesdays, for example, you may want to have something that is either:
-Prepared and easy to cook (in the oven or microwave, 10 minutes or less)
-Is ambient temperature/warm or remaining well served
In just a quick look at the upcoming week, you’ll be able to find out which nights a fancy sit-down meal is going to fit vs. others where “make your own pizzas” or leftovers may be perfect.
Step 3: Plan your weekly shopping and day-preparation
To make meal preparation a success you really need to set aside time to shop and prepare the food.
And if you’re like us, you’ve got to have something on the schedule, and plan it around.
Personally we like to visit the grocery store in the morning before it gets busy.
As far as the meal planning is concerned, we tend to do it on a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon … when we know we have only two children with me at home, as opposed to three.
Seek to do it in one day, if you can, for a stress-free and relaxing break from your hectic life. Just turn up a couple of tunes in the kitchen and hop!
Step 4: Determine what’s in store for dinner
Now that you have an idea of how to make a meal schedule, it’s time to tackle the big question……what’s tomorrow for dinner?
And the next?
And the day after that?
Play around with it.
With just a bit of research and meal planning, you can make nutritious, tasty, easy and fast meals for the whole family.
Step 5: Arrange
Now that you’ve figured out how to make a meal plan, it’s time to take your ideas and coordinate your meal planning ideas.
Effectiveness is important!
Step 6: Multi-Ingredient Prep time saver
You’ll note early on when preparing for the week that several recipes call for the same ingredients.
Especially fresh herbs and spices play a large part in meal planning.
Herbs are often sold in bunches in bulk, and will easily die if not used. Therefore learning proper storage strategies is an important part of preparing meals.
But we’re going to get to that in a moment.
For now, as you prepare for the week to cut and slice and dice… take a gander at all the ingredients to see how much of each ingredient you’ll need.
Having control of all of this at once is an incredible time-saver.
And here’s a tablespoon, a cup there… Then simply divide the portions into meal preparation containers or small storage bags and you’re ready for rock!
As for having the oven for the dinner, ready for the grill or slow cooking … marinating is also a good idea. Doing so gives spice to meats or fish.
If you’re marinating or not, or just doing a dry rub or spice, you can also get the hearty ingredients ready ahead of time.
Step 7: Fill in What You Can
Although not all of your meal preparation ideas on your allocated prep day will be completely oven-ready, it’s a good idea to get them as close to it as possible.
Recipes such as meatloaf, veggie lasagna, and chicken Milanese, for example, can all be combined and put together ahead of time in a casserole dish … leaving very little to do for dinner apart from preheating the oven.
Step 8: Try educating yourself on proper handling of food
Meal preparation plans will go south quickly if the ingredients aren’t properly stored. This can cause spoilage, which will make you ill.
No-one wants it! The internet crawls with tips on food health so be sure to try them out if you’re unsure.
And if you’re looking for healthy recipes that taste great and keep you on track with your weight loss goals, you can download iTrackBites today. We also have over 500,000 recipes for you to feast your eyes on and enjoy.
Click here to get started.