When I was a single lady, I didn’t cook a lot on a regular basis. I’m sad to say that I lived on quinoa, chickpeas, and Kashi cereal. I’ve come a long way in my cooking. But I do have a great Greek quinoa salad if you need it! I digress.
When I got married, I had someone who was really hungry for real meals! Every. Day. The man can eat and is very active so he needs proper nutrition. Enter: meal planning. Back in the olden days, I would sit down with my food magazines, newspaper clippings, cookbooks, and random printed recipes to plan the meals for the week. I learned a few things:
- I really didn’t need to plan everything out for every meal. I think if you have more than 2 people you might but this is meal planning for 2 adults who eat a fair amount.
- Pick 2-3 main dishes for the week that can be repurposed into a new meal or used in a new way. The best example of this is a roasted chicken.
- Salads that improve over time- hearty greens, cabbage, root vegetables tend to improve as they soak up the dressing.
- Pick something new to make. This eliminates boredom. Plan to make it on a night that you have more time or on a weekend.
- Also, have some tried and true recipes that you can make in your sleep. A fried egg will suffice!
- If you work/go to grad school/have a life, the crock pot is your new best friend. I know I wouldn’t have eaten nearly as well without it.
- Plan to go to the grocery store one time in the week. It saves a ton of time. Plus, the grocery store is not a place you want to be. Ever.
- Pick a theme for your meals for the week. It will help you use up all your produce before it dies a slow death in the crisper. My go to theme is tex-mex.
- Don’t be afraid to go outside what you are used to. My mom wouldn’t have ever made breakfast for dinner but that doesn’t mean I can’t! Plus, you probably have all those ingredients right now.
In the last three years, I have converted to the meal planning program, “Plan to Eat.” It works really well for me. I also like that my husband can reference it if he wants to help me out. Yes, it costs a bit of money, but it’s very low and to me has been completely worth it. That’s going to be a personal choice if you need or want to use something like that. It’s a lot easier and less clutter to not have tons of clippings scattered around the house!
How do you meal plan?