It seems like once we flip the calendars over to September, not only are we saying goodbye to summer, but we are saying hello to our regular routines and schedules. September means back to school, no more BBQs and parties every weekend, and back to reality. This is what makes September the perfect time to focus on your health. As boring as it sounds, having a routine is what makes most people so successful. When you have a plan, it makes hitting the gym and making healthy food choices so much easier. This is why so many people do weekly meal planning to stay on track. Meal planning keeps you organized, can help you stick to a grocery budget, and can help you make healthier food choices throughout the week.
What Is Meal Planning?
Meal planning means exactly what it sounds like…having a plan for your meals each day. It can be as simple as keeping a list in your head of what you want to make for dinner each night, or it can be as detailed as you writing down what you plan to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.
If you’re new to meal planning, I recommend starting small. Start by planning out your dinners for the week. Dinner tends to be the hardest meal for people because evenings can be so hectic. And if you don’t have a plan, the fast food drive-thru starts to look really appealing.
How To Get Started
Getting started is really easy! Grab a pen and paper and start thinking. If we continue with the dinner example from above, then sit down and write out what you want to have each night for dinner. Then think about the ingredients that you need in order to cook each meal. Check out your kitchen for things you already have on hand, and then write down whatever you will need to buy at the store.
Once you have your grocery list ready, you can shop with confidence knowing that you will have all of the ingredients on hand to stick to your weekly meal plan! Once you have all of your groceries, now you can sit back and relax knowing you have a plan for the week. The key is now making sure you stick to it!
Tips For Success
Having a plan is only helpful if you actually stick to it. I always recommend choosing meals that fit into each night’s schedule. For example, if Monday nights are crazy in your house, maybe choose a meal that cooks all day in the Crockpot, or a one-pan meal that cooks in the oven while you help your kids with homework. Don’t choose a brand new, complicated recipe for a night that is busy.
With that being said, plan for leftovers! There’s no need to cook every night! If you know there is one night that is pretty slow in your house, make that the night you cook double. Then the next night you don’t even have to worry about cooking.
Once you’ve mastered meal planning your dinners, you can take it to the next level by planning out your other meals too. While meal planning might sound time consuming, it actually helps save you a lot of time during the week! It can also help save you a lot of money by cutting down on the money spent out at restaurants. Give it a try and I bet you’ll be happy with the results!