Meal-Planning 101

Meal-Planning 101

I’ve spoken about our budgeting process and have mentioned that we meal plan, but in today’s post I thought I’d go into more detail and discuss why it was such a great decision for us.

Gary and I spent the majority of our college meals eating out and eating terribly. I didn’t get back to my apartment until after 8 p.m. on most weeknights and usually didn’t eat dinner until after that. We spent so much money on getting quick meals because there just wasn’t enough time to cook a good meal due to the extensive hours we were both putting into school, our jobs, and our internships. Eating like this worked for me at the time, but the thought now makes me cringe because I shouldn’t have put my body through what I did. I hardly ever ate breakfast – if I did, it was a poptart or something unhealthy on the way to work in the morning. I usually skipped lunch completely. However, as I mentioned in this post, times have changed (thankfully) and we’re now devoted to a full-on meal-plan.

How it works
Once a week (on Fridays), I sit down and look at our calendar to see what activities we have planned and if there are any nights that we know we will be out or have something going on. Once those are accounted for, I count up the nights that we need meals for. I usually plan on five meals a week, sometimes more, sometimes less (again, depending on our schedule).

After determining the number of nights that we need meals for, I head to Pinterest or start flipping through cookbooks for meal ideas. It usually takes me half an hour to track down all of my recipes for the week.

Once I have the recipes, I make sure to print them all out (if they’re online). After printing/compiling the recipes, I create a document on my computer which lists out the days of the week we need meals, the meals, and the ingredients. This probably takes another half hour in total to complete.

Following the creation of the ingredients list, I check our cabinets to ensure that we don’t already own some of the items that the recipes call for. I order our groceries online, so I search for all the ingredients I need, put them in my basket, and schedule a time for pickup. On Sundays after church, we drive over to the grocery store and pick up our order. It’s that simple!

Benefits
-We eat out less
-We spend less money
-I know what ingredients are going into our food
-We eat healthier since our meals are planned

Have you tried meal-planning? Do you have any tips to share?

  • AHH you have no idea how badly I need these tips! Meal-planning always gets put on the back burner for me, but I completely agree that doing so saves money and allows you to eat sooo much healthier! 🙂

    • Haha it’s so hard to keep up with it, but I’ve found it so much easier to eat better!

  • I really want to start meal planning, so thank you for sharing these tips! It can be quite stressful to get out of work and still figure out what you’ll have for dinner. Plus, like you said, it seams a great way to save money and eat better 🙂 x

    • Of course! I know what you mean – I’ve definitely been there. Thanks for reading and commenting, Joana!

  • I really need to start meal planning, I am always finding that I have nothing to eat or there I am too lazy to cook.

    Zeynab x
    The Beauty Load

    • I’ve totally been there, Zeynab! Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy! Thanks for commenting and reading!

  • missgetaway

    Oh I should definitely put more effort into meal planning too. It saves so much time and money. When we’re in exam season, though, we seem to be eating out all the time – and it’s uusally not the healthiest kind of food. Shame on me!

    Love, Kerstin
    http://www.missgetaway.com/

    • It really does save time and money! We’ve all been there. Thanks for commenting, Kerstin!

  • Carrie

    Oh my goodness, I just wish I could be this organised! So often we’ll have nothing in the cupboard at all and I’ll have to improvise. x

    • I’m so bad at improvising, so planning is a must! Thank you so much for commenting!