I’ve heard enough people expound on the virtues of meal planning that I know it will save me time, money, and effort in the long run. Yet somehow, I just haven’t been able to get my act together and pre-plan meals with any consistency.
My quick tip for you today is simple, free, and the longer your implement it the more effective it becomes.
Post plan it!
Grab a blank monthly calendar, stick it up on your refrigerator and each day after you eat dinner write down what you ate. After seven days, you now have a week’s worth of meal planning done. I mean, you had to eat, right?
Even though there may have not been any pre-planning you can turn it around and post-plan it for the future! Rinse, wash, repeat and if you do nothing different than you’ve been doing you’ll soon have weeks and months worth of meal planning at your fingertips.
Keep it simple.
I don’t use this method to log recipes or create a shopping list – it’s more the title of the dish than exact ingredients, just used as inspiration for future meals.
Want to go crazy with this? Write down breakfast and lunch too!
A bonus for those of you tracking eating-out spending: At the end of the month I go through and circle the dates that we ordered take out or went to a restaurant – it’s a quick visual representation of how often we’re eating out.
It works long term.
Our family has been logging meals this way for over a year now and technically we have the whole next year’s meals already planned out. Obviously, our lives, activities, and food preferences have changed but it was awesome to come into the new year after the holiday highs and have an entire month’s worth of meal ideas already planned out.
While I still plan to get better at pre-planning meals, especially in an attempt to shrink our grocery budget, this habit has proven useful and I hope it might inspire you to start logging your own meals.
Do you meal plan?
What method works best for your family?
Share your routine and tips with me in the comments.