With the start of the new year we have all made lots of new goals. Exercise more, eat healthy, be more oragnazied. I was picking up back to school supplies for teachers, calendars for me, sharpies and other items at Staples for the start of the year and thought about my ‘be organized this year’ goal. One aspect of being organized for me is definitely meal planning! Meal planning is one of those things that can change your life. It can also be a beast. Meal planning takes time- which all of us are running short on! If you sit down and really do it, it has so many benefits for you, like actually SAVING you time in the long run. Some other major benefits include:
-Saving LOADS of money
-Saving time and energy
– Less Stress. SOOOO much less stress.
Different things work for every family and individual. So I’m going to help you find what works best for you by sharing some tips and tricks to meal planning.
First these are my supplies. Yes I use all of them! (If you go to you local Staples you can find all of these items in one spot!)
a Monthly Calendar. a Planner. List taking notepad. Sharpies (I’ve had a love fettish for Sharpies since high school. A few friends and I decided that colorful writing was the best writing, can’t seem to break from using them. It makes every project so much more fun- even meal planning.)
- PLAN AT LEAST 5-9 MEALS AT A TIME. I personally don’t like to plan specific meals for specific days. You can if thats your mojo. I plan a bunch of meals, shop for those meals then choose what to cook based on our evening plans and what we feel like eating.
- CALENDAR! Even though I don’t plan specific meals for specific days I do have to look at the calendar. I note what days I work till late in the evening (slow-cooker meal) days I might need to plan more of a 30-minute meal, or days where I will be home and can a make a meal that takes longer to prepare/cook. Scheduling is huge. Make sure you ALWAYS have your planner next to you when deciding on meals. Otherwise, you won’t make meals you intended to make.
- Start TRADITIONS. These always make meal planning easy! Some ideas might be homemade pizza + chocolate milk on Fridays, Meatless Mondays, or Taco Tuesdays. It doesn’t only make it easier, but it creates fun memories for your family.
- INVOLVE OTHERS. I ask my children and husband specifically what they would like to choose for a meal for the week. The kids especially will eat it like crazy and they’re proud of themselves. Often more willing to help make it too. PLUS there is way less complaining.
- VARIATION. often when I’m in a funk and can only think of like 3 meals, all involving similar ingredients, I plan out by ingredients instead of the meal. For instance, I will space out the meats- so we don’t all end up eating chicken every.single.night. or chicken/ground beef combo. I’ll make sure to throw in variety like pork chops, steak, fish. Sometimes, I work my menu around different starches. Potatoes, rice, noodles, bread. Once you know what the base is you can think of an meal to go with that ingredient. Oh if I’m making bread….. a soup would pair perfectly with warm fluffy bread. YES, I’ll even go so far as to even write it out on a calendar. obviously I need to start incorporating more fish into our diet.
We all have to eat! Do this little bit of planning and preping will seriously make life go so much smoother. The weeks I don’t plan, and I just run to the store to grab a few items end up being so much more chaotic. I usually have to make more trips to the store and still feel like we have “nothing to eat.” Plus, an hour or so after lunch I start stressing about what to make for dinner- when, if I meal plan it’d be done. no stressing. So do your self a favor and pick up a few of these habits. If one of you new year resolutions was to eat healthier, be more organized, save money or stress less- this is right your alley.
Also, go grab some supplies at Staples! The entire week of January 24th save 35% off all regular priced Sharpie product, while supplies last.
This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Newell Rubbermaid , but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #stockup4schools http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV