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Beginners Guide to Meal Planning

The term meal planning often makes us grown and stress out for no reason. Did you know if you get in the habit of meal planning for the week, it will become a much less daunting task in the immediate future. The following tips will help turn anyone from a meal procrastinator into a meal planning wiz.

Set Aside Prep Time

Most people dislike the thought of meal planning because they think it’s something that takes 30 to 40 minutes of work. But meal planning can be done in as little as 10 minutes! If you can’t plan a meal ahead of time, it’s okay to spend 5 minutes each morning planning out that evening's dinner. While you’re planning meals, it’s important to make a quick decision and stick with it. This will make dinner much less stressful because you’ll be going into each meal with a plan.

Check Your Fridge

Before figuring out dinner for the week and going to the grocery store, check your refrigerator and see what needs to be used and then base your meals around using those items! Before making your grocery list, check your pantry for the rest of the ingredients. Using what you’ve already got at home can help cut down on your grocery bill.

Keep Track of What Works

Does your family have that one meal that they could eat over and over again and never get sick of? Add that into your planning for the week. Each night you make dinner you don’t have to reinvent the wheel! If your family is adventurous in what they like to eat, make sure you are regularly trying something new. Keeping track of the recipes that work will help cut down on the time you spend planning dinners for the week because those meals can quickly be thrown into the rotation.

Add in a Theme

Whether it’s #MeatlessMonday or #TacoTuesday, adding a theme to dinner will help narrow down the options and reduce the amount of time you spend meal planning. Adding a theme will also excite your family and make life easier.

Cook Once

Meal planning is a great way to make a meal that is going to result in leftovers. Cooking a basic staple ingredient like rice, quinoa, beans or pasta is a great way to create leftovers that can be turned into another meal during the week. Bulk cooking saves you a lot of time, and it doesn’t require you to set aside a time to prep five nights of meals.

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