I love being organized. It gives me a sense of ease when I've planned ahead. Whether it's my M.I.T.'s (most important tasks) for the day or my meal plan for the week, deciding in advance what I'm doing allows me to be better prepared, saves time and reduces the chance of making bad decisions.
I've written about meal planning before (here and here) and how it's my favorite strategy for improving your diet. If you sense you could be making better food choices, chances are you're probably not planning your meals.
Meal planning can seem like a tedious and time-consuming task. However, in the video below I share my strategies for streamlining your meal planning process so that eventually it only takes a few minutes.
Here's the step-by-step process:
Pick a day where you have some extra time (Sunday morning works best for me). Make a cup of tea and gather your favorite cookbooks, recipes and food blogs.
- Open your fridge and jot down the ingredients you need to use up that week.
Grab a blank piece of paper and write down the recipes you want to try or know you like. Write the name of the cookbook and page number, or the website. I usually only plan 5 meals and follow the "cook once, eat twice" method - I make enough for dinner that I can have the leftovers for lunch the next day.
- At the same time you write your list of recipes, write your grocery list of ingredients you need to buy on the bottom or right side of the paper so you can tear it off and bring it with you grocery shopping.
Save your meal plans and over time create a "master list" of recipes that are family-approved, fast, easy, healthy and delicious.
- Once you've done this part meal planning is breeze from here on out. Each week run your finger down your "master list" and choose your meals based on ingredients available, season and what you're in the mood for.
Refine the list over time, adding and subtracting recipes when you discover new dishes or grow out of old ones. If you like to be super organized like me you can make separate lists for each season, detoxes, busy nights, etc.
I would love to hear if and how you meal plan. If you have any tips to share please do. And if you have favorite cookbooks or food blogs I didn’t mention – let me know those too!