I am sure you have heard the term "meal planning", but what exactly does that mean? Spending hours in the kitchen?
Does it mean strict time management?
Cooking fancy meals?
More expensive grocery bills?
The answer is NO. It doesn't mean any of the above.
Meal planning saves a lot of time throughout the week, and, a lot of money. Imagine getting an extra 20 minutes of sleep each morning because you prepped the night before, getting some extra work done, hanging out with family, or having the extra time to spend to focus on yourself. If you are a busy mom, I am sure you are sitting there saying, "Ummmm, yes please"! No more rushing around the grocery store thinking about what's for dinner or running to the store every single day trying to figure out lunch, AND, no more spending on the produce that just sits in the crisper even though your intentions we good! I mean come on, who wouldn't like to save a dollar or a few, especially right now with the rising cost of living.
To help convince and get you get started with implementing a meal plan into your busy schedule, let me share a few tips with you.
1. Make a list for quicker shopping trips:
By simply writing a list of the meals you are going to have for dinner for the week, along with the ingredients you will need means more time to do fun things. Remember to check your pantry first however, this will stop you from spending money on items you may already have. Keeping list as you shop the isles, (that you actually need items from), will allow you to avoid the spontaneous and unnecessary items you would have otherwise added to your cart.
2. Make one trip to the store weekly:
Keeping a meal plan and writing a list of all the ingredients which you will need for the week means you'll only need to shop once. Just make sure you double check your list and the ingredients you'll need before heading off. You may of course, have to pop to the local shop for bread or eggs in between, but this will save a lot more time rather than going every night rushing on a decision of what you are going to cook.
3. Knowing what you're having for dinner means no last minute panics:
Though for some, waking up and knowing what you are having for dinner may seem a little bit of a bore, however, when you live a busy lifestyle you'll find this a bliss. Whether you decide to wake up and put all of your ingredients into your slow cooker, or if you have a quick, fresh stir fry to whip up, it will mean you don't have to go through rush hour traffic (on the roads and/or in the stores) stressing about what to create with leftovers in the aisles. Instead, you'll have a delicious meal that took you a matter of minutes to create.
4. Have essentials in your cupboard
If you're at the end of the week, or you didn't get the chance to run to the shops when you usually would, having some basic essentials in your cupboards will mean you will always be able to whip up a quick and easy meal for you and your family to enjoy. I always have frozen vegetables, broth and healthy canned beans etc. on hand. These are really quick to cook, great at bulking up meals and full of healthy benefits.
5. Prepare the night before or pick a day that works for you
Prepping the night before will give you some extra time in the morning and throughout the next day. If you fancy an extra few minutes in bed before a long day of meetings, prepping in advance will help with this.
6. Don't forget to prep breakfast
Save your drive thru money and the time you spend in the line up by prepping quick on the go breakfasts. Things like over night oats, chia seed pudding and yogurt parfaits are super simple, super quick, nutritious and filling, and last in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Looking for simple breakfast ideas? Check out my my recipes here https://www.helenpaquette.com/blog/categories/recipes
I hope I have convinced you to start your meal prepping journey today! Once you build it into your daily routine, you wont want to turn back!! There are SOOOOOO many benefits with doing so!!