I’m definitely no professional meal planner, or even that experienced in it. I struggle getting myself to do it because it’s not the first thing I want to do on a Sunday night! But when I do, my week is way easier! I’m not constantly thinking “what should I make?!” or “shoot, now I don’t have time to make that recipe.”
When I first started to cook, it was honestly overwhelming seeing all the ingredients I would need for recipe! So each week, I try to pick recipes that have common ingredients. Such as, if a recipe asks for sweet potatoes, I look for other recipes that contain sweet potatoes. This saves money (woo!) and can help not waste food.
If you’re new to cooking, I recommend starting with a lot of crockpot meals because they are hard to mess up! That’s what I did until I gained more confidence. Over time, I’ve build a good list of go-to meals you can find in my recipe section.
1. choose recipes
So I’ll start by writing some of my go-to meals in the “recipe ideas” section. Then I’ll look on Pinterest for some new ideas. Recipes with short ingredient lists appeal to me the most! Now I can look at healthy recipes or even unhealthy ones & just swap out the ingredients for healthier versions. (diary for raw diary or alternative diary options, chicken for organic chicken, beef for grass-fed beef, sugar for honey etc) Americans eat 50% more meat than the should, so I make sure I have many meatless meals to integrate in. (I used to eat meat every meal, so I have gradually come along way!)
2. write ingredients you don’t have
While I’m choosing these recipes, I’m writing ingredients I need to buy. I’ve gotten to a point where I have most ingredients in my pantry and only have to buy a few more ingredients to complete the list. It took me awhile to get there though (building up my pantry & always having ingredients I know I’ll always use every week).
3. place meals in the schedule
Next, I start placing the recipes over to the weekly schedule. I try to do this strategically. On days that I am busier, I pick quick meals or crockpot meals. I also try to make sure I’m not eating two similar meals in a row. Spacing it out gives some variety.
I’ve attached a simple template you can print out to help you start meal planning! Click “download” below! Enjoy & I hope it helps make your life easier 🙂