By Mairead Rodgers, RD, PHEc, CF L1 Trainer
I’m sure you already know you should be meal planning. Maybe it’s already part of your weekly routine! In case you’re not, planning our meals can make a huge difference in how we approach them. If you’ve ever gotten home from work and been scrambling trying to find something to get on the table, planning meals ahead of time will save your stress. If you find yourself reaching for take out because you just don’t know what to eat, planning meals can help you eat better.
Here’s 4 ways you can make your meal planning just a little bit easier:
- You don’t have to plan the whole week. Planning 5 or 7 days worth of meals can feel super overwhelming and might not work for your household or family. If that’s the case, try just planning the next 2 or 3 days at a time. All the benefits of meal planning, just not thinking quite as far ahead to keep it simple.
- Post it for the whole family. If you cook with or for other people (kids, roommates, significant others), this can be an easy way to keep everyone on the same page. This way whoever gets home first can start dinner, no one’s wondering what’s for dinner, and it gives other people a chance to have some input if they want to!
- Shop your freezer, fridge, and cupboards. Use food that’s already in your house when you’re planning! Have a quick peek and see what needs to be used up before it goes bad, what’s been sitting on the shelf a long time, or what’s on the edge of freezer burn. This is a great way to cut down on food waste and your grocery bill, and give you a bit of inspiration when you’re stuck.
- Use themes! If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, pick a theme for each night of the week. Taco Tuesday is an obvious theme, but maybe you always slot in breakfast-for-dinner on Friday, pasta on Monday, and leftovers on Thursday. You don’t have to use your themes as the template every week, but it can be an easy way to come up with an idea so you don’t eat the same 3 meals on repeat.