How to Take the Suck Out of Meal Planning

If the world was a perfect place, meal planning would happen for me on Friday, grocery shopping on Saturday, and meal prepping on Sunday. Well let’s be honest – someone else doing it all for me would be perfection but this world is nowhere near perfect, nor am I!

But after waking up quite motivated this fine Sunday morning, I decided that even though I’m technically two days behind, working on my plan now is better than never.

But let’s get something straight here: I ??Hate ??Meal ??Planning ??There. I said it. I find the whole process tedious but without it, my food choices suck. So here’s the steps I take to make it as painless as possible.

Typically, I plan the menu and my husband does the cooking (I know! Not a bad gig right??). So because this is how we roll, it’s super important that I spell it all out for him – where to find it, what’s needed at the grocery store.

STEP 1: How Will You Keep Track of Your Menu?Will it be on paper? Computer? App? It doesn’t really matter how you do it as long as you do it. Just try something. If it doesn’t work, try something else.

I found these “What I Ate” tablets at Home Goods. I bought them a long time ago and I still see them there every now and again. I doubt I paid over $5 for them. I love them because they include 3 meals and a column for snacks. They also have a large magnet on the back so I can keep it on the side of my fridge.
Now, they’ve lasted this long because I do not throw the old ones out. Why try to be creative every single week? Save up at least 4-5 so you can recycle through them.

STEP 2: Where Will You Find the Recipes?I have a select few favorite recipe books like Whole 30 Fast & Easy, Cook Once Eat All Week, and Fixate. These are easy to follow, have great pictures, and I know that they’re healthy recipes.
I also use Pinterest all the time because it’s super easy to search for very specific things like “Whole 30 Main Meals”, “Gluten Free Breakfast”. Pinterest is way better than Google when it comes to finding the exact kind of recipes you’re looking for.

STEP 3: Make Your Grocery ListDo this as you decide on each and every recipe you’ll use. Again, doesn’t matter if you do this on paper, in a word doc, or on an app as long as it works for you. My husband and I love Cozi because we both have it on our phones which makes our grocery and to-do lists shareable between us.

STEP 4: Get Your Shopping DoneHey guess what! You don’t personally have to do this if you use a grocery delivery service like Peapod or InstaCart. Don’t want to pay the extra delivery fee? Have you tried Walmart Grocery pickup? It’s totally free and easy to use.

STEP 5: Unpack, Wash, PrepUnpack all your groceries and put them away. Wash and dry your produce ahead of time. They’re less likely to mold and that one step will save you time during the week. Prep ahead whatever you can keeping in mind the time limits I mentioned here.

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