I have been on a real kick with meal planning lately. It gives me something to look forward to every day and it curves my cravings because I know exactly what's coming. Sky and I are noobs at this cooking and meal planning thing. However, here are a couple of tips that I've learned along the way.
Some people love meal planning while others really hate it. I find that it really helps me focus on my healthy living and diet to know exactly what to expect and when to expect it. Whether you like it or not, it can be really helpful for budgeting, time management, and organizing families. Everyone has their own unique way to go about meal planning--this is how Sky and I go about setting up the perfect meal plan.
1. Know your schedule.I'll admit, I have been victim to planning out a meal and then winding up not coming home until 8:00 pm when I no longer want to cook. I've learned that I need to be prepared for days when I am going to be out late and have a meal that is easy to cook or already cooked and ready to go. Be flexible and understand yourself first.
2. Understand your cooking skills.
Not everyone enjoys cooking (I'm one of those people), and that's okay! Meal planning doesn't have to mean an elaborate gourmet meal every night. I've come to terms with the fact that every once in awhile I'm just going to want a microwavable meal--so, I put that in my meal plan. The important part is that you've planned ahead.
3. Keep a recipe stash.
Knowing what your possibilities for meals are, based on what you know how to cook, makes the whole planning process so much easier. I user Evernote to keep track of my recipes in labeled notebooks. I also love to snag ideas from Pinterest every now and then, too! Having recipes ready is perfect because that way you don't have to find all knew meal ideas every time you sit down to plan.
4. Start with one meal.
Currently, Sky and I are only planning out our dinners. We know that that is the only time that we are guaranteed to have together because we understand our schedules. I recommend that you start planning only for one meal and make that plan work before you try and overwhelm yourself with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks!
5. Give yourself a break.
If it doesn't work out, don't fret!! I've been trying to meal plan for years and have finally figured out a system that works for me. Stepping away from meal planning and looking at why the meal plan failed will help you make a better meal plan in the future.