5 step DIY Meal Planning
Ever wonder what it would be like to have the whole week’s meals planned out by Sunday afternoon? It sure would eating wholesome meals more attainable. It would make it easier to achieve your goals of losing weight or gaining more energy.
Meal planning is a fantastic way to keep on track with your eating throughout the entire week.
The idea is to plan out all of your meals on the weekend, most often on Sunday, then do the shopping and the prep at one time for the entire week. This day may be labor intensive and time consuming but it saves you so much time from going shopping in piece meals. And you have all your shopping done in one shot for the whole week.
Here’s a 5 Step DIY Meal Planning Guide.
Step One: Planning
Get out your notebook and pen or pull up a blank note page on your tablet/mobile device. Answer these questions:
How many meals do I need each day?
- Check your calendar for special events
- Consider your appetite throughout the day
- Look at each day separately
How many servings do I need for each meal?
- Consider who in the family needs which meals
- Check the calendar for guests or visitors
- Look at each day separately
Step Two: Recipes
Now it’s time to translate those meals + servings into actual recipes. Take a moment to consider the produce that is in season and any special requests or food allergies.
Find your recipes
- Browse around on your favorite recipe site
- Pull out your favorite cookbooks
- Find your family favorite recipes
Focus on a core group of ingredients
- Plan recipes that use similar ingredients
Calculate leftover meals
- Making enough of some recipes for leftover meals saves time
Make your list
- Narrow down to the exact list of recipes
Step Three: Grocery List
Take your list of recipes and create a grocery list. A few things to keep in mind…
Pay attention to recipes that you’ll double or triple
- Make sure to include all ingredients in your list
Organize your list into these convenient sections:
- Organic Produce
- Pantry Items
Check your pantry for items that you already have
- Save money by avoiding double purchases
Take this list and head to the grocery store.
Step Five: Food Prep
You have options when it comes to the actual prep of each of your meals.
For some people, it may be easier to prepare as you are making the meal.
For others, prepping the ingredients in advance is helpful by washing, chopping, prepping and storing your vegetables and fruits in clear glass containers.
Other Helpful Tips to Reduce Waste and Save Money
Getting the best value on food won’t mean much if large amount of that food goes into the trash. According to EPA, statistics show that 40% of all food produced in the U.S goes uneaten, 30 million tons of food waste are sent to landfills each year, $1350-$2275 annual average loss is incurred per household due to uneaten food.
Less wasted food means money saved, natural resources and energy conserved and less methane-generating organic material in landfills.
Here are some other things you can do to reduce food waste and save money:
- “shop” your refrigerator and pantry before going to the store
- Organize your fridge with “First In, First Out!” date labeling or sections. Organize and vegetables, fruits and leftovers from oldest to newest. This way, you’ll have less food that has gone back to waste.
- Use your freezer. May foods, stored in freezer safe glass containers, will keep for months.
- Try pickling or canning. This preserves foods and extends its shelve life for months.
- Use overripe fruits and veggies in smoothies, soups and sauces instead of tossing them away unless they have gone back.
Meal planning is a sure way to become more efficient at shopping and becoming better at organizing your time. For some this DYI will be easy to implement. For most of us, reading this will make us want to pull our hair.
If you prefer more help and a Done-For-You meal planning, check out Meal Planning/Smart Shopping Guide online program that includes video tutorials on how to shop smart to not only purchase the most nutrient dense food that are humanely raised but where you save time and money in doing so.
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