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I am one of the most disorganized people. I mean, I organized things, but when it comes to me personally, I am all over the place. I make lists and I lose them. I try to figure out what I need to do each day, and I can never seem to stick to them. But I have learned that if I make a meal plan, it makes my life so much easier. For some people, meal planning can seem overwhelming. It is actually easy and takes only a few minutes to learn how to meal plan.
Meal planning is basically when you figure out what you are going to make for dinner, or all of the meals in a day, for the whole week. Some people will meal plan for the whole month. That is too hard for me. I still have trouble getting through a week sticking to my meal plans. There is no real set way to meal plan. Most people who meal plan do it to save money and save time. Meal planning can save a lot of time because you do not have to stand in front of the fridge minutes before dinner should have been done, trying to figure out what in the world you want to make. Meal planning can also save you money. By planning meals around what is on sale that week, you can plan dinner by what you can get cheap. It is a great way to get the most out of your food budget.
After making a list of what you have, start looking at the sales from the store you want to go to. I don’t go to several stores, unless there is a truly amazing sale. I try to stay at one store, because while I try not to impulse buy things, I have an awful habit of it. So the more stores I go in, the more I seem to spend. Even a dollar here and there add up and take away from my budget.
When I find a good sale, I stock up. We might have chicken a few nights a week because it was on sale. I try to look up a lot of different ways to make it because I don’t want people complaining that we are having chicken again. I try to break up meat meals with meatless meals some nights.
As you start to decide what meals you are making, don’t forget the sides, write it down for each night, or each day all day if you are trying to plan for all day. I like to add where the recipe is, in what cook book, online, or a note card, so that it is easier to find the day I want to make it. After you have the meals you want to make, you will need to make a shopping list.
Go through each recipe to see what you need. Write it down to make sure that nothing is forgotten. If you need perishable ingredients, and you are worried that they might go bad before the day you plan to make it, set a reminder for yourself. I like to add it in my phone so that I get an alert on the day, or the day before.
Once you have made the meal plan and bought the ingredients, the hardest thing you will find, you need to follow the meal plan. Many people find this to be the hardest. Every night before I go to bed, I look at my list to see what needs to be taken out of the freezer. What needs to be set in the crock pot? The only way a meal plan actually works is when you use it.