Monday, March 19, 2018

Easy Meal Planning


Meal Planning Made Easy

Save time and money while reducing calories



BLUF:  Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated and will save you money, calories, and time.

As I have mentioned in my blog, PLAN to Not Waste Food, the most important way to help eliminate food waste is to create a weekly meal plan.  This can sound overwhelming to many people but let me show you an easy approach to this by breaking it down by meals.

First…breakfast! 

This is usually an easy meal to plan since most of us are eating on the run or at our desks. 

How much morning prep time do you want?  If the answer is zero, then you need to prep your daily breakfasts on Sunday. 

We are usually okay with eating the same thing every day for our morning meal.  This could be oatmeal, yogurt, an apple, or a McMuffin.  Please don’t eat the McMuffin.  Instead make your own breakfast sandwiches that you can heat up each morning. 

Know your food people!

Second…dinner aka supper! 

This is where the fun is! 

Select the recipes you want to make for the week.  The key is that you want to use the same ingredients for multiple meals.  

For instance, let’s say you want to make burritos on Monday.  Then on Thursday, you can plan to make quesadillas using all the same ingredients. 

Or maybe you are going to make a pot roast on Sunday with veggies.  Well on Wednesday you can have roast beef sandwiches with a salad. 

You are limiting the number of ingredients purchased with this technique…saving you money and decision making time on what to cook.

I recommend focusing on a combination of meat or legumes, fruit, veggies and grains.  Leave the extra calories of breads and pastas out if possible.  

You will need to buy enough to feed you and your company for all of the meals plus enough to have lunch the next day.  This may sound like a lot but it really isn’t. 

This is a good time to evaluate how much you are actually eating! 

You will need to find recipes that you would like to make and oh yeah…don’t forget to check what you have on hand before hitting the store.  You may need other ingredients to cook up the recipes of your choice.

Third…lunch! 

When I talk about meal planning for your daily lunch, I am not talking about going to lunch with your coworkers every day.  Nope…that is not good for your budget nor your waistline. 


Lunch is often easier to plan because leftovers from the night before are a great choice.  You simply box up a portion as you clean up after dinner.  Just don’t forget to grab it in the morning. 

Make a wrap out of that roast beef and have a side of fresh fruit or make a taco bowl that layers all those Mexican ingredients into one giant dish.  Do you see what I am doing here??? 

Lunch can be as easy as you want to make it.

Fourth…snacks! 

Yes, I do include snacks in my meal planning.  I am a snacker by nature and if I don’t have something healthy laying around then I am going to eat junk. 

Of course, fruit and veggies are always the best choices but that is just not for everyone.  Keep it simple like…
  • 5 Minute Popcorn
  • Scoop of peanut butter
  • Kombucha drink
  • Dried fruit
  • Granola bar

Decide what you want as your daily snacks and add that to your meal plan.

Finally…dessert! 

Okay so I love my evening sweets. I try to keep it at baked apples, a banana, or something else healthy but every once in awhile I want chocolate! 

You need to plan for your cravings in advance.  Figure out what you want when that sweet tooth starts screaming at you and have it on hand.


Just remember that this is a starting point.  You cannot get into a good meal planning routine if you don’t at least start!

That’s it!  This is really all there is to meal planning.  I create my list on Saturday mornings, hit the grocery store, and then meal prep on Sundays. 

Do I always stick to my meal plan?  Um no!  But I do try. 

Life happens and some days just don’t go as planned.  That is okay though.  Push that meal out a day and next time you only need to plan for six days instead of seven.

Lessons Learned:  Adjust your meal plan to your dietary restrictions, financial budget and health goals just by tweaking the ingredients you choose to use.

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