Getting dinner on the table amongst the craziness of life can be hard. Place on top of that the stress of not knowing how to plan healthy meals and you just might think you can’t do it. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can. These 3 tips for healthy meal planning will show you how.
With just a little preparation and the will to succeed, you can be a pro at meal planning in no time.
#1 – Take Time For Successful Healthy Meal Planning
Ah, that wonderful little word…TIME. If only we had more of it right?
Our time these days seems to be packed to the full, but if you want to be able to have access to healthy meals, you have to make time to schedule and plan.
Set Aside Some Time
Your number one way to successful healthy meal planning is by being able to set aside time to find your recipes and plan your meals. Without setting aside time for this step, it will be really hard to come up with healthy meals for each night of the week. Not being able to do that will, unfortunately, lend itself to take-out food or quick, not so healthy meals.
One Shot or Two
When it comes time to setting aside the time, you have to find what works for you.
You’re basically going to need time to do two major steps on a weekly and/or monthly basis.
- Finding recipes and meals you want to cook
- Planning on what days you will eat them and making a grocery list for the ingredients you need
These two steps (beyond grocery shopping) will take the most time but are the most important, so decided if you want to do them all in on shot or two.
I like to collect my recipes and meal ideas throughout the week. Pinning favorite recipes or earmarking recipes in my favorite cookbooks. And then, I sit down on Sunday afternoons and plan out my menu for the week. (More on planning later).
Whether you want to do it all in one sitting or split the task apart, just make sure you set aside the appropriate amount of time to get it done.
#2 – Gather Your Tools For Successful Healthy Meal Planning
Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” So the al second tip for successful healthy planning is making sure you have all the right tools for the task.
Of course, to cook healthy meals you need to have healthy foods (we’ll address that later), but for now, we are going to focus on some tools that make the actual planning and cooking of the meals simpler and more organized.
Great Tools For Planning
Old School Tools First
The planner is where I keep all the appointments and events we have going on. This way I can see how busy we will be each day so that I can plan our meal accordingly.
The Blank Calendar
I then use the blank calendar to write down the meals for each day. This allows me to have a separate record of just the meals so I can keep it in the kitchen.
Today’s technology is amazing. Our phones these days can do so many cool things. One of which keeps your grocery list for you.
My husband and I use an app called AnyList. It allows us to keep multiple lists for stores like BJ ’s, the grocery store, the natural store, and lots of other places.
AnyList keeps our lists synced up with each other, so as I meal plan, I add things to the grocery list and as we notice things throughout the week that we need, either one of us can add it to the list. This is great because no matter who goes to the store, they can see the most updated list as to what is needed.
If you like to go old school with this too and use a paper list, this one is my favorite because of the specific categories.
#3 Gather Your Resources
Now that you have set time aside and have all the materials you need to start planning, you need to gather your resources.
In other words, you need to gather your recipes.
Where To Look
Start With What You Have
Even if you have only cooked just a little in your home, most likely you have some recipes lying around. Whether it’s in a good old-fashioned recipe box or a stuffed three-ring binder, pull them out and find some family favorites. You could add in some new ingredients or just make them like usual, but usually, the tried and true recipes are the best place to start.
You can search for dairy-free, gluten-free, or maybe even meat-free recipes. There are so many great recipes out there that are available to you via Pinterest that you may never cook the same meal twice. Finding healthy meals that just about everyone will love is truly very easy on Pinterest.
Pinterest is great and all, but I love a good cookbook. There’s something about flipping through the pages of a good cookbook and having it lay out on the table while you cook that just speaks of home cooking.
I’ve done a lot of reviews for various cookbooks, so if you need any inspiration, check them out here.
A Bonus Tip!
When you start meal planning and trying new recipes, keep track of what you are making and how it tasted.
A kitchen journal is a great way to list recipes that everyone loved or maybe didn’t like so much. You can make all different notes to help you meal plan in the future.
You Can Do It
As I sit here typing this post out I am basically preaching to the choir. I have gotten off of track when it comes to meal planning and it’s kind of wreaking havoc in my home.
We are still eating healthy meals, but they are basic and kind of boring. It’s time for me to put my big girl pants on and get back to my weekly meal planning.
You can do it too! These 3 tips for successful healthy meal planning is just a start, but a good start. With these tips, you can hit the ground running when it comes to preparing and enjoying more healthy meals in your home.
Thanks for stopping by and Happy Cooking!
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