Meal Planning Made Easy

I've been asked quite a few times, "where do you shop?" "How do you plan out your meals?" "Where do you get your recipes?" So today I'm going to fill you in on all my secrets of meal planning.

First, I pick my meals + recipes. I have one word for you PINTEREST. Pinterest is my best friend with.. well, everything. I have boards for food and recipes to try out, or if I'm looking for new ones I'm always searching "easy healthy recipes". Pinterest never fails. 

When I'm making any recipe search I always look at:
1) How many ingredients are in the recipe.
2) How many of those ingredients I already have on hand (especially spices, sauces, seasonings, that sort of thing).
3) How long it takes to cook/bake. 
I use these factors to decide if it's a good fit for our typical eating habits, schedule and budget.
Decide how many recipes you're going to need. Do you grocery shop once a week, once every two weeks, etc., just so you know how many meals you're going to need to have planned out.

Then, I pin or save the recipes I find in an easily accessible place. I am obsessed with keeping my stuff organized and easy to find, it just makes things a lot easier. Whether it's a Pinterest board, notebook, phone or a recipe box (like this adorable one I have sitting on my counter. #ThankYouTarget). 

PINTEREST ORGANIZATION TIP: I have a "This Weeks Menu" board on my Pinterest where I will pin the recipes I've planned to make this meal planning schedule. I make this board private so I don't have the same recipes and confusing boards cluttering up my space. After that cycle of recipes is over I delete the board or the items in it and start fresh. This is much easier than saving 23948 food pins to one board and having to spend hours digging around just to find your recipe for that one salad you saw that one time. I promise. #HoursI'llNeverGetBack

 Did you know you can make secret boards on Pinterest? When you're making a board you can select "secret" in the settings. This comes in handy for board you want to keep to yourself, if you're planning a surprise party, or secret you aren't quite ready for people to know yet. ;)

Did you know you can make secret boards on Pinterest? When you're making a board you can select "secret" in the settings. This comes in handy for board you want to keep to yourself, if you're planning a surprise party, or secret you aren't quite ready for people to know yet. ;)

Next, I start writing each ingredient for the recipes into a shopping list. Starting with one recipe I'll write down the things I need to buy EVEN IF I ALREADY HAVE THEM. Yup, even if I already have the ingredients I need I write them down, let me elaborate. I have made the mistake of, "oh I know I have that I'm not going to write it down" but that turned into me thinking I had more of a spice or food than I actually had and not having enough. Whoops. #LessonLearned 

So, starting with a recipe, writing down ALL the ingredients you need and how much. When you move on to the second recipe, you don't need to rewrite an ingredient you have already written down, simple add TBSP, tsp, or cups next to that item on your list. This makes everything so much easier. 

After you've written down all your ingredients with your tally marks or measurements, I then go through my cupboards to check over each ingredient to see if I have it or have enough. This is where you can start crossing things off your rough draft list of ingredients you already have. 

 Crossed off what I already had at home in my rushed penmanship knowing this was my draft, haha.

Crossed off what I already had at home in my rushed penmanship knowing this was my draft, haha.

What you're left with is a piece of paper with a million measurements and scribbles on it, so if you're anything like me that's your rough draft. I rewrite my new and improved shopping list (even by order of how things are in the grocery store. I have a map of Fareway in my head as I do this. Haha.) so it's all neat and ready to go. 

 Okay, this rushed penmanship isn't much better and it still has scribbles on it from Norah but you get the idea.

Okay, this rushed penmanship isn't much better and it still has scribbles on it from Norah but you get the idea.

Last but not least, the actually meal planning calendar. I picked these monthly calendars, I believe at Walmart, for just a couple dollars. On my calendar I will schedule out our three meals a day, while also writing in little notes for the days ahead if need be, such as taking out meat to thaw for a future meal or getting overnight oats ready for the next morning. 

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This may seem like a bit of work to some people but I grocery shop every 3-4 weeks and it only takes me a couple hours (sometimes less) to plan out our meals for that entire period of time! It makes everything much easier than the "what do you wanna eat? "I don't know what do you wanna eat?" "I don't know wh..." It gets old. Trust me. 

 

I hope this has made meal planning easier and not such a daunting task! I actually find it quite fun, so I hope you're also able to RELISH in the fun with me. (food puns).

--PRO TIP: Scheduling your meals based on the expiration date of food or for more perishable items is a great thing to take into consideration when making your calendar!

--ANOTHER TIP: SALES. Always check what's on sale and if it's a good buy grab a bunch (if it's something that you're going to use or need, not 23 packs of Oreos, sorry to disappoint, and base another meal off sales! Hello, budget friendly. 

Are you following me on Pinterest, because you definitely should be!! Follow me HERE