How to Meal Plan Like a Pro
by Hannah Christenson
2017 was the year I started something new in my home. I started meal planning. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t really like to cook or bake. I would much rather do laundry or organize. Funny, I know.
So when it comes to cooking, I’ve always dreaded that time of day when I have to figure out what to make for dinner. Making meals was what I was most worried about when I got married because I just wasn’t very good at cooking and I struggled to decide what to cook each day.
After years of feeling inadequate and stressed in the kitchen, I finally scrounged up the motivation to meal plan as one of my 2017 goals. By the end of the first week, I loved it. There was something so freeing about having a plan for dinner and it immediately increased my confidence in the kitchen. Once I had a routine in place, meal planning became a habit and now as I start 2018, it’s a no-brainer. Meal planning is a must!
I’ve created a new set of free meal planning printables for 2018 which I use in my home daily.
The process I follow is fairly simple. I have a rotation of recipes that I make regularly so I created a handy reference to look at and plug into the meal plan. Once a week, I look at our calendar to see what we have going on in the evenings and I glance through the fridge and pantry to see what groceries we have on hand.
I take all of that into consideration when I jot down the meals for the week. So for instance, if I know my husband won’t be home until late one night, I make that leftover night so I don’t have to cook for just me and the kids. I like to use up the groceries we have before going to the store again, if at all possible, so I first plug in the recipes that can be made with what we have at home.
When it’s time to make a grocery run, I make a thorough list of everything I need for the next week of recipes so I don’t have to go to the store too many times.
This year, I’m also trying to create a system of themed dinners so that it’s even easier to decide the meals for the week. For example, Mondays are pasta, Tuesdays are Mexican, Wednesdays are crock pot, ect. Then I just can pick from those types of recipes for each day of the week. I’m doing whatever I can to make the meal picking process faster and more efficient so that cooking is as stress-free and painless as possible.
I’ve also developed a goal of trying at least one new recipe a month so that I’m continually widening our selection of recipes to choose from and improving my cooking abilities at the same time. Meal planning has been a rewarding experience and I’m so thankful that I finally took the plunge to start the habit.
If you want to give my system a try, you can grab my free meal planning printables and check out the round-up of awesome recipes that I put together from many different bloggers. I hope once you start meal planning, you will love it as much as I do. It’s a system worth trying!
If you would like to read more of Hannah’s great articles and gain a fresh perspective on Biblical homemaking, encouraging articles, and faith-based topics, you can find her here:
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