Planning Meals For the Week
There are plenty of reasons why you should plan your meals for the week, and in this article we’re going to show you how to do it right.
Whether it’s because you want to save your time from the hectic weekday scrambles, or you want to make sure you are sticking to a healthy, nutritious diet. Planning meals ahead of time is a great way to have all your meals in order before the week even starts. Also, if you plan the proper way, you can save on that grocery bill by only buying what you actually need.
Let’s take a look at how to plan your meals in the most efficient way to reap the maximum benefits:
Before you Start: Make a Nutrition Plan
Before you start to plan your meals for the week, you need a consistent plan to guide you. This plan comes in the form of some nutritional guidelines, or your own dietary needs. This one depends on your personal preferences.
Whether you are cooking for taste, for protein, to lose weight, or in accordance with a specific diet, you need to know what your dietary goals are before you get started with a meal planning regime. Having a set of nutritional guidelines to follow not only helps you to plan your meals, but it helps you accomplish your goals as well. So whatever your nutritional goals are, consider them in accordance with the steps below.
Step 1: Make a Consistent Time
For the first step, set aside a consistent time to plan your meals. It will be a common theme throughout this list, but it is much easier to stick to routines if you simply make them a habit. Set aside a time every week, and stick to that time to plan your meals. By making these things a routine, it becomes one less thing to think about.
Many like to do this on Sunday, because it is a day off for many, and the official start of the week. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to set aside about an hour. Stick to this schedule and it becomes second nature.
Step 2: Check What You Have
For the next step, you want to take an inventory of what you have. Your meal planning is best done if it’s done by accounting for what’s in your house already. Not only could you potentially make use of some leftovers, but you will know of all the ingredients you have available to you.
This is an important preliminary step, because you will know what you have available to make, and what you need to pick up at the store.
Step 3: Use a Calendar
The best way to organize your list (in our opinion), is with a simple calendar. Divide a calendar into the days of the week, and leave a slot for all the meals you want to plan. Breaking it down this way is great because it is highly visual, and gives you a good overview to ensure that your meals are varied, and in accordance with your dietary goals.
From here, simply plug in your meals for the week. Keep it consistent with your goals, and be sure to consider the ingredients that you have available from step 2.
And remember, try to keep things varied! If possible, give yourself a few meals that you really enjoy. Eating is supposed to be enjoyable after all. You can even slot in a few meals where you get takeout, or order pizza!
Step 4: Get Ingredients
Once you have all your meals laid out, take stock of everything on your list so that you can decide what you need to prepare your meals. From here, make a grocery list and get shopping.
If you have properly considered all the ingredients that you already had available in your house, then you might not need to pick up too much. Regardless, it is good practice to account for all the ingredients at once, so that you only have to head to the store once. This helps to streamline the entire process so you can get it all done at once.
Step 5: Prepare
And of course, for the next step we prepare the food! Of course, since you were only planning your meals, how and when you prepare them is up to you. Some prefer to prepare all their lunches for the entire week on one day, and some prefer to prepare their meals right before they eat. It really boils down to personal preference.
But whatever you choose, by following this process you already have a clear, consistent outline of your meals, and you have the ingredients to prepare them. You’ve already eliminated a major headache of deciding what to eat for each meal. Your plan is in place, your ingredients are ready, and you are ready to accomplish whatever your nutritional goals may be!
Don’t Forget: Consider Who You’re Planning For
Before we wrap up, remember to always keep in mind who you are planning for. If you are cooking for family or for kids, or prepping meals for anyone else, be sure to consider their needs as well.
Try to make meals that everyone will enjoy. Planning meals is a complicated process, but trust us, the time you spend here will be more than made up in the time you save later.
Thanks for reading our guide on how to plan meals for the week. As you can see, the best strategy is to make a habit out of it. The main reason we plan meals is so that we can avoid the stress of planning each meal individually, and scrambling to get ingredients each time we need to cook. By planning meals, you are making it so your weekday meals are stress-free, and you always have the proper ingredients to get the job done.
It may seem like a lot of work up front, but when you see the time you save all throughout the week, you’ll wonder how you did it any other way.