Deciding what to eat ahead of time helps keep you from buying takeout in hunger-induced panic. Making a meal plan at the start of the week will also save you money, as you’ll only be buying the ingredients you need. Get ready to OptiMYz your eating!
What you need: a calendar, a notepad, a pencil, flyers and your preferred source for recipes.
- What’s in the fridge/pantry? First, look for recipes that use the ingredients you already have. What do you have left over that needs to be eaten? What do you have in your pantry? Try using the index of the cookbook or the search function to narrow down your options quickly.
- What are my other plans this week? Make note of nights you’ll be busy, late, or planning to go out.
- What ingredients are on sale? Have a look at flyers (or use the Flipp app) to see what’s cheap this week.
- What ingredients are in season? Fall squash, winter root veggies, or spring greens? Consider your favourite seasonal meals to enjoy fruits and vegetables at their freshest. Shopping at a local farmer’s market can help you get in touch with what’s in season in your area.
- What is the weather forecast for the week? While not foolproof, checking the forecast means you can plan to make chilli on a stormy evening or barbecue on a hot night.
Tip: Another way to reduce your grocery costs is to add more meatless meals to your week.
Make your plan
Make a note on your calendar of the nights you won’t need to cook first, then pick your meals for the rest of the week. Write it down on your calendar, then add the ingredients you need to your shopping list. Put the recipes with ingredients that spoil the fastest closest to your shopping day. Also, make a note of the source of your recipe.
If you’re making something with mostly pantry items, that’s great—make that your last meal before you shop again. Leave your fastest recipes for busy nights. Better yet, use a slow cooker so dinner is ready when you get home. Double the benefits of your planning by making enough to eat leftovers for lunch. Know that it will get easier to make your plan every time you do it!
Reap the rewards
Congratulations! You’ve completed your first meal plan. If all goes well, you’ll spend less time figuring out what to eat, spend less time grocery shopping, reduce your impulse buys and takeout spending and eat delicious meals every day.
Now all that’s left to do is enjoy your well-organized week.
Thinking about organizing? Check out our cool article on getting organized for life!