In this hectic lifestyle, planning meals may cause unnecessary stress for working professionals. Prepping nutritious and delicious meals that fit your lifestyle may not be that difficult if you follow simple tips that help you create workable meal planning schedules for your family. You need to think about your approach to meal planning and prepare meals ahead of time based on your nutrition needs.
Even though you could have planned your shopping list, organised your produce and prepped your ingredients to save time and money, sometimes meal planning can become an unsuccessful project because of laziness and unexpected mishaps. If you have started meal planning but find it difficult to continue, these simple 5 tips can help you make a successful planning habit in your everyday routine.
Have a Dedicated Meal Plan Day
If you don’t make time for meal planning, planning your meals will always be a distant dream. Prepping your food is probably the most underrated and underutilized habit in most of our households. A dedicated meal planning day will help start your routine in a good way and almost 99 percent of the time works even for an amateur meal planner.
Life is often filled with unexpected surprises and having one stable day where you can concentrate on preparing your food will save you a lot of headache over the week. Start small by listing your ingredients and involve your kids together to whip up a few basic dishes for using throughout the week.
You can spend two or three hours to plan your meals and paste the planner on the fridge. There’s no one right or wrong way to meal plan, so wing it and plan as you wish. A dedicated meal planning day is the first step towards building a successful meal planning routine.
Allot Spaces in the Freezer and Fridge
Fridge is your best friend for meal planning. If you are not staying on top of your fridge game, meal planning can never become a successful venture for you. Invest in good fridge organizers, food storage containers and dedicate spaces in the freezer for storing your ingredients.
Allocate dedicated bins for fruits, vegetables, bread and dairy products in your fridge and freezer to make quick meals.
Plan your meals based on leftovers and allocate a dedicated spot for leftovers to finish it as the first thing before you plan your next meal. You need to invest in good Ziploc storage bags to store meats, nuts, sauces and soups in the freezer.
You will always have freezer meals ready to be served for your family. You can also store microwavable containers in the freezer and reheat to have quick meals on lazy days.
Buy Fruits and Vegetables that Gel Together
Combination matters the most for meal planning because buying a variety of vegetables and fruits may not be the ideal way to meal plan. You must select good ingredients such as fruits, vegetables and staples that go together to whip up awesome meals without running for missing ingredients in the middle of the week.
Make a list of produce and recipes you will make for this week first. Always shop for seasonal fruits and vegetables to save money. Buy whatever fruits and vegetables you love to eat and make recipes that go together. This helps you to consume all the fruits and vegetables without wasting them.
You can chop vegetables such as broccoli, beans, carrots, zucchini together and use them to make vegetable curries and stews for the week. You can store them in one Ziplock bag and use it as required. Chop mushrooms, paneer, tofu, keep them separate and add to your stir-fries.
Store apples, banana, strawberries, mango muskmelon and watermelon together for smoothies. Having a variety of chopped vegetables and fruits will save time and unnecessary shopping at random times.
Update Staples List to Avoid Food Wastage
Most of us shop in bulk whenever there is a sale and we buy a lot of staples for long-term storage. It is important to include the expiration date on the containers to use all the ingredients before it turns bad. When you have finished your meal planning, you can allocate one or two hours during the week on free days to check up on your staples in the pantry.
Rotate the containers and make a list of about-to-expire products to make meals with it. Keep a list in the pantry and update it as you go throughout the week.
You will have plenty of options based on the availability of staples in your pantry. Adjust your meal plans according to the availability without wasting a lot of money on getting newer ingredients often.
Start With Simple Meals Than Diet-Specific Ones
Stock up your pantry and fridge with versatile ingredients instead of buying fancy products. If you want to do a keto diet, you can stock up on almond flour, but you must use these fancy goods as soon as possible because regular ones can last longer than all these alternative ingredients.
Don’t plan a meal when you are starting a new diet. It will double up your work because of extensive planning. The produce and staples will also vary, trying new recipes every day will become possible and drain your motivation to plan your meals regularly.
Make sure you use ingredients in a variety of recipes and stick to a diet first before starting meal planning. Meal planning itself is a strenuous project and if you are on a diet, it may drain you mentally to plan for a specific diet. Always start your meal planning with simple everyday meals and then upgrade to specific diets.