Meal planning is a great way to save money and stay accountable with healthy food choices. With the busy hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to swing into the McDonald’s drive-thru if we don’t have a meal plan. However, creating an organized meal plan can be difficult.
How to Meal Plan
1. Decide on the Meals You Will Have
The very first step of meal planning is, well… planning your meals! Look through Pinterest or your favorite blog and pick out recipes you will enjoy. You will see many registered dietitians (which I am not) recommend eating foods you actually enjoy. Unseasoned chicken breast with a side of brussels sprouts may sound like a healthy idea, but ask yourself if you will feel satisfied with that meal. If it doesn’t sound delicious and satisfying, leave it out of your plan.
If you have some fitness goals or have been recommended some macros by a doctor or registered dietician, keep those in mind when planning. There are many recipes you can find on Pinterest that suit certain macros goals. For example, you can find many low-calorie pizza crust recipes made of Greek yogurt and flour. Or, you can find high fiber pasta dishes with a lot of greens or beans. Whatever your goal is, find a recipe that sounds delicious and nutritious!
2. Tally How Much You Will Need of Each Ingredient
Once you have picked out some recipes, you should tally up how much you need of each ingredient. I always try to stick to about five main ingredients when meal planning to make my grocery bill less expensive. Typically, you will see me picking up bread, garlic, broccoli, chicken, and tofu. No matter what, you will want to tally up how many of each ingredient you will need. Do you just need one of everything? Or, do you need five chicken breasts, two white onions, and just one bottle of wine?
3. Go Grocery Shopping!
Now that you have completely planned your meals and ingredients, you are ready to go grocery shopping! Hit the store and look for your ingredients. Using your tally chart you made, shop for those ingredients. Try to steer clear of any extras if you are on a tight budget and stick to your list. I always get caught up in the chocolate and potato chip section.
4. Meal Prep if Desired
Many people choose to prepare their meals they planned ahead of time. This helps to save time in the kitchen if you have a busy schedule. For me, knowing I have a healthy and nutritious meal waiting for me keeps me from spending money on fast food.
Free Meal Plan Printable!
To make your meal planning easier and more organized, I have designed a printable. It should help you remember your meals and keep track of what ingredients you need from the store. Feel free to download it or use it as inspiration for your own printable!