Weekly meal planning is a huge time saver! Before you head to the grocery store or make your shopping list, read these easy meal planning tips!
When it comes to simple meal planning, meal prepping and organizing the meals is a really big, important factor. Storage accessories are a really important factor to making the process super easy and convenient. So, we’ve curated a list of all the meal planning essentials that you should add to your kitchen. Not to mention that using reusable storage means you’ve done your part to helping the planet.
Reasons to Create a Healthy Meal Plan
- You get to try new recipe ideas!
- You will have an easy dinner ready for every day of the week,
- You will find it easier to stick to your grocery budget and have less food waste,
- Work on your cooking skills and spend less time in the fast food drive thru.
Tips for succeeding in the Meal Planning Process
- Take a look through your family’s calendar for the next coming weeks and even the entire month, so you can plan your meal ideas according to your weekly plans.
- Think of simple meals for busy nights or the beginning of the week when you are easing back into the week.
- Take a look at your food budget so you have an idea of what you need to spend when you go grocery shopping.
- Create a master list of what is in your freezer, pantry and refrigerator on a weekly basis, things you use regularly: peanut butter, olive oil, ground beef, fresh herbs, leafy greens, black beans, cream cheese, bread crumbs, sour cream, soy sauce, etc.
- Be sure to incorporate new recipes, as well as your family’s favorite recipes.
I like to find new ideas that are not only delicious recipes, but don’t take up a lot of time. Some of my favorite simple type of recipes are sheet pan meals and freezer meals.
Menu Planning Ideas
- I like to come up with a new meal plan on Sunday nights. It’s my favorite way to ease back into weekdays.
- I look through easy recipes that I find on my favorite food blog, social media and magazines.
- Make sure these dinner ideas fit within your needs: match your cooking skill, are healthy meals, are easy meal prep recipes, are family-friendly recipes and are the correct number of servings.
- For variety, I try to choose something different then the previous week.
- Don’t forget your side dishes. Choose something that is the perfect combination for your meal.
Meal Planning Essentials to Add to Your Kitchen
Lunch boxes are a great way to store the food that you want to eat the next day or later on in the week. You can find sets for a really good price in most supermarkets and homeware stores. If you can, try and get the leak-proof ones. Most of these will have a seal which will stop liquids from spilling out, so whether you’re having a chicken wrap or last night’s burrito bowls, you can be sure the inside of you bag will stay dry.
Freezer bags are a must have when doing meal planning. I am a big fan of using freezer bags as an easy and convenient way to keep leftover food and store it in the freezer. Using freezer bags rather than boxes takes up less room which means more meal planning and freezing for you.
If you want to make sure you’re getting the right portion sizes, The best way to make sure you are getting the correct ratio of milk to quick oats or just don’t want the hassle of using scales, measuring cups will be your new best friend.
Storage containers of different sizes are another helpful piece of equipment to have in your cupboards. Whether you use them for freezing, breakfasts, lunches or as snack holders for your bags, they’ll always come in handy. I like to choose a lot of healthy meal prep recipes that I can spend a little time throughout the day putting together, so storage containers are perfect.
Tin foil is one of the greatest but most forgetful cooking accessory. When cooking fish, chicken, pork chops or vegetables, wrapping them in tin foil keeps the moist and flavorful. It’s also great for when it comes to storing food. Simply wrap your half cut onion or tomorrow’s sandwiches in some and pop them in the fridge and you’ll be sure they’ll stay fresh and yummy.
Mason jars are great for cereal. If you find yourself in a rush in the morning before work and sometimes skipping breakfast, look no further. Mason jars are a great way to store homemade granola and overnight oats. Simply prep the night before or a few days in advance and all you have to do is grab and go.
Slow cooker or Instant Pot
Purchasing a good slow cooker or Instant Pot is a great investment. You can pop all your ingredients for a few days’ worth of meals in one go in the morning before you head to work and then you’re done. With an Instant Pot, you can be done with dinner in no time. Using a slow cooker like this means you don’t have to worry about cooking your dinner after a long, hard day of work. With the extra food cooked you can either save it by popping it in the fridge for the next few days or using your freezer bags to save for a few weeks’ time.
Investing in good quality thermos is another useful investment. If you enjoy and want to make homemade soup or leftover rice to take to work but don’t want the hassle of having to use a microwave or don’t have one in your staff room, these will be your life saver. Simply heat up your food in a bowl the morning before you leave, then place the hot soup into your thermos and you’re good to go for up to 12 hours.
Though a little more on the pricey side, buying a Nutribullet (or any other smoothie maker) is a really good idea. You don’t just have to use this to make smoothies, they are really useful for making homemade soup, hummus and other healthy food. So for a one-time purchase piece of equipment, it’ll definitely show you it’s worth.
I created this printable meal planner for you!
The first step is to download this free guide. You can download this FREE meal plan for immediate access. I wanted to make this to be the easiest way for you to have a great time for a lot of people to meal prep.