Meal Planning in the New Year
New Year's Resolutions
With the New Year often comes New Year’s resolutions. I’m not much for resolutions, but I like to use the new year as a time to think of some goals that I could achieve for myself throughout the upcoming year. One goal that I want to focus on this year is meal planning. Meal planning is something that I love to do, but often times I don’t do it enough and we end up eating out more often than I would like to. I’m not sure why I don’t sit down and meal plan more often because it ends up saving way more time and money in the long run. Especially with a little one, I know that this year I need to be more conscious about cooking at home and getting into a good rhythm of daily cooking dinner. Below are some of my meal planning tips that hopefully you can use to start some new goals for yourself this upcoming year.
1. Find the time
Find a time each week to sit down and plan out your weekly meals and grocery list using a weekly meal planner. When you write it down and have a weekly cooking plan, you know exactly what you have to make for dinner and it’s easier when it comes to dinnertime to just look at your menu planner and pull out the ingredients you need for that specific meal. I like to shop once a week for my produce and I usually go every two weeks for my canned goods. I found this meal planner notepad* that I absolutely love. On one side you can write down what meal you want to have each day and on the other side is a grocery list that you can tear off and take to the store with you. It’s also magnetic on the back so you can keep it on the fridge and have handy when it comes time to make dinner.
*The notepad I use is currently sold out, but should be added back shortly.
2. Make freezer meals
My second tip is to make a batch of 10 freezer meals once a month. You can incorporate your freezer meals into your weekly plan to make one or two nights a week even easier. I use Wildtree to do this and it is so convenient when I have a busy week to just pull a meal out off the freezer and throw it in the crockpot to cook all day. Wildtree make several different options for freezer meal kits. For example, in the winter there are crockpot kits and in the summer they have grilling kits. There are also vegetarian kits and options for more health-conscious diets such as Paleo or Whole 30. To pick your kit, you just order online and they send you (almost) everything you need to make your 10 meals. It comes with the recipes, a grocery list, and directions for making your 10 freezer meals as well as 6-8 Wildtree seasonings and spices. When you get your box, you go grocery shopping for your meats, veggies and canned goods. You then throw it all into 10 freezer bags based on the directions and then you put them in the freezer. Your meals are there and ready to pull out of the freezer when needed!
3. Be Flexible
My last tip for meal planning is to be flexible. Just because you have a weeks worth of meals planned out, doesn’t mean you can’t go out to dinner with your friends when they ask or that you can’t switch Sunday’s meal with Wednesday’s meal based on a craving that your husband has. The whole point of meal planning is to be prepared when it comes time to cook dinner and if you have a plan to base your cooking off of, it is way easier and less stressful when it comes to mealtime.
Hopefully these tips can help you with your New Years resolution to cook at home more! Let me know in the comments if you have any meal planning tips of your own!