The days are longer and beginning to get warmer and I’m ready to hit the great outdoors.
Not that I’m doing anything strenuous, but at least I’m not in the house.
The evenings are slow and easy, just the way I like them.
Then I hear, “What’s for dinner?”
My response, “I don’t know, I’m on the porch reading my book.”
Ahh, but I’ve done my meal planning this week and all my meals are prepped and ready to go.
Now, all I need to do is open the fridge, pull out our meal and enjoy.
It’s that easy.
Taking a little extra time on the weekend saves me hours during the week.
Have you discovered the benefit of meal planning?
There was a day when I loved to spend time in the kitchen preparing meals for my family. Not today.
The children are grown and gone, and I’d rather spend time with a good book than in the kitchen.
Simplicity is key with my meal planning today and I want to share how you can make your meal planning simple too, regardless if you have a home full of children or it’s just you and your significant other.
Pick a Meal
New to meal planning?
Welcome to the club.
My first suggestion for you is to pick a meal to start with.
Which meal causes you the most stress?
Plan a week’s worth of meals for that meal.
As you become comfortable with planning that meal, then move to your other meals.
Stock Your Pantry
Your meal planning success will be based on what is in your pantry.
Take an inventory of your pantry and then determine if you have the needed staples for your meals.
Your staples will be different than mine, so I can’t give you a detailed list of staples for your pantry. Your goal is to stock what you normally use to prepare your meals.
My pantry is stocked with rolled oats, gluten free flour, gluten free pasta, brown rice, wild rice, red rice, black rice, lentils, black beans, red beans, white beans, black olives, Kalamata olives, canned veggies, and various sauces.
This allows me to plan my meals with ease.
Healthy snacks are another item that should be in your pantry.
Keeping healthy snacks available for those snack attack moments, will help you and your family enjoy those moments in a healthier way.
My pantry has a shelf of various nuts, and healthy protein bars. I keep organic humus in the fridge and cut up veggies to go with it.
Chickpeas are a great snack. I’ll roast chickpeas in the morning with various flavors to snack on during the day.
Pull out Your Slow Cooker
When your schedule keeps you from home for eight to ten hours, the last thing you want to do is to come home and spend an hour in the kitchen. Pull out your slow cooker and allow it to become your best friend in the kitchen.
Make a large recipe on the weekend, divide it up into multiple meals, and use it for a couple of meals during the week, or freeze the excess for future meals.
This is your best time saver in the kitchen.
Easy Side Dishes
Once you have your main course planned, don’t let the side dishes cause you to panic.
I purchase fresh frozen veggies that are easy to prepare quickly. Broccoli is easy to steam with herbs or roast them sprinkled with your favorite cheese. Brussel Sprouts are another quick veggie to steam or roast with your favorite seasonings. Stock your freezer with your family favorites to keep your meal planning simple.
Do you need a lunch for tomorrow?
Meal planning is perfect for lunches.
Plan to have enough left over from your evening meal for lunch.
I’ve purchased sectional containers and will fill the containers with dinner leftovers. I stack those in the fridge and grab one for lunch the next day.
This saves so much time in the morning. I no longer decide to skip lunch because of poor planning. I have a healthy lunch ready to grab and go without concern of what I’ll have for lunch.
Think of the freedom this will give you as you plan lunches for yourself or your family.
Meal Prep Made Simple
Meal planning and meal prepping has proven to be a wonderful time saving system and I encourage you to make this a healthy habit for you and your family.
In my course, Meal Prep Made Simple, I lay out the exact steps I follow to plan and prep my meals for a week.
Desire to save time
Desire to save money
Want to save energy
Relieve stress in your life
Enjoy your meals