Meal Planning for Beginners

By Riley Corboy

 

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Credit: GIPHY

 

You are a busy person, someone who barely has time to shop for groceries and cook much less sit down and plan every single meal for the week. But have you ever found yourself staring at a half-full fridge, wondering what you can possibly eat for dinner? Inevitably, you wind up with a bowl of ramen or eating eggs for the third night in a row. I have good news for you! If you take a couple hours at the beginning of the week to make a meal plan, you will never have to experience that moment again.

 

1.) Search for inspiration. Ask to see the family recipes your mom has hidden in the kitchen. Scour the cookbooks tucked away on bookshelves in your family home and take pictures of anything that catches your eye. Pinterest, of course, is a gold mine that will help you find thousands of recipes to fit your exact needs. This may feel a bit indulgent, but will be important later on when you are trying to decide what to eat.

 

2.) Be realistic. It can be exciting at first, the idea of cooking all these amazing meals for yourself, but try not to be overly ambitious. Depending how much free time you have, aim to cook 2-3 new meals every week and plan leftovers to fill in the gaps.

 

3.) Write out the week. A whiteboard hung in the kitchen is perfect for this task, but paper will work just as well too. Using the recipes you found earlier, plan out what you want to eat every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you know you’re getting takeout one day this week, write that down! Don’t forget snacks, either.

 

4.) Grocery shop. The beauty of the meal plan is that you know exactly what you need to buy at the grocery store and exactly how much of it you need. The days of you buying random ingredients and hoping to throw them together are over. To save yourself some money, make sure you know what basics are in your pantry so you don’t buy extra. Also, try not to deviate from the list too much. Allowing yourself one or two treats is no big deal, but if you throw everything you like in your cart, you’ll find yourself standing at the checkout aisle watching your budget get blown to pieces.

 

5.) Batch prep your basics. For some people, this is their biggest step. They take a few hours on Sundays to cook their meat, grains, and prepare all the ingredients they will need later in the week. You can do as much or as little prep as you want, but it’s at least helpful to cook a big batch of rice or oats to shave some time off cooking later on.

 

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Featured image is from Pinterest

 

 

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