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5 Tips for Successful Meal Planning

Meal PlanningIf you have a busy schedule, or are always on the go, or perhaps are looking for ways to eat healthier or spend less money eating out, meal planning can be a great way to prepare in advance for your week. Meal planning may seem like a lot of work if it is not part of your routine, but once you incorporate it, you will find it provides order and can save you time overall. If you have never meal planned or need some new ideas on how to, here are 5 tips to try:

  1. Set a goal for how many meals you are going to prepare for the week. Start with recipes that are easy and that you know how to make well. You can add a new recipe each week and build onto your recipe book.
  2. Plan for recipes that have similar ingredients so you do not have to buy as many items.
  3. Look at the meal you are making and consider if it meets all the appropriate food groups. If you are looking to follow a certain diet or simply eat healthy, this will be important and helpful.
  4. Keep your pantry organized. This will help you identify what ingredients you have to cook with and eat and what you might need for the next week.
  5. Keep a running list of popular items in your pantry, so as you run out you can grab them on your next grocery run instead of missing out on them.

In addition to these practical tips, consider incorporating a theme night into your meal planning routine. Theme nights can add excitement and variety to your meals while simplifying the planning process. For example, designate Mondays as “Meatless Mondays” where you focus on vegetarian or plant-based meals, or designate Fridays as “Pizza Night” where you can experiment with different pizza toppings and crust variations. Themes not only make meal planning more fun but also streamline your grocery shopping by narrowing down ingredient choices.

Furthermore, don’t overlook the potential of leftovers in your meal planning strategy. Cooking larger portions and intentionally planning for leftovers can save you time and effort throughout the week. Leftovers can be repurposed into new dishes, incorporated into lunches, or frozen for future meals. Embracing leftovers not only reduces food waste but also provides convenient meal options for busy days when cooking from scratch isn’t feasible. With a bit of creativity, leftovers can become a valuable asset in your meal planning toolkit, making your weeknight dinners a breeze.

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