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11 Meal Planning Tips

Meal Planning Tips: Tips to Help you Organize Your Meal Planning


Flowers in the Kitchen

Flowers in the Kitchen

Photo / La Dolce Vita

An ever-growing list of meal planning tips that you can use every week. 

Meal Planning Tips

1. Plan ahead 3 days.
Instead of planning two weeks out, plan 3 days out so you have some flexibility. - Ryan McGinn Allen, nutritional counselor

2. A running grocery list in plain site.
Keep a running grocery list so you can add items to it if something is used up. I like to keep a pre-made list on Excel that lists the items my daughter and I use most and then add a few blank lines to each department. Its also laid out like my favorite store (Wegmans!) this way when I shop, all the items that I need for Aisle 8 are all together. I also put a “C” next to the ones for which I have a coupon. - Wendy Salmon, professional organizer

3. Consistency.
Pick one or two nights a week to have the same dinner each week. This cuts down on trying to decide what to cook and you can make it seasonal. When I was first married my late husband and I made Thursday night “Spaghetti night”. In the summer it was “BLT & Corn on the cob” night. Or do take-out one night each week. Or you can plan dinner each week depending on how structured you wish to be. This can help tremendously when organizing your weekly grocery list. - Wendy Salmon, professional organizer

4. Master the basics.
Master 4-5 recipes including a leftover casserole recipe.

5. Crockpot.
Invest in a crockpot to cut down on the time necessary to cook meat and root vegetables in the evening.

6. Make breakfast consistent.
Stick to a breakfast rotation of 1-2 options and save the fancy dishes like french toast and sausage omelets for the weekends.

7. Family grocery list.
Keep a dry erase board on your refrigerator for family members to jot down their requests. This way you’re not fielding suggestions on the fly and it’s organized in one space. - reader, Lana J.

8. Printable grocery lists.
I made a master grocery list on my computer and printed out several after I saved the file. I grouped groceries into categories like Frozen, Dairy, Produce, etc. I then listed individual items within that category that I buy often. I placed a checkbox in front of each item so I could check the item I need to buy. I hang the list on the refrigerator and check things during the week that I'm out of so I can grab it and go to the grocery store. I also left several empty spaces under each category so I could write in an unusual ingredient or product that I don't usually need. Works for me! - reader, KayDe

9. Shop twice a week.
Commit to shopping 2 times a week, once for meal planning, and once to replenish produce and dairy products and to pick up anything you may have forgotten. -Ryan McGinn Allen, nutritional counselor

10. Buy a little lunch.
Pack snacks and a small side for lunch, then buy something at the office to change up your routine.

11. Utilize online shopping.
Why go to the grocery store when you can have your groceries delivered right to your door? Online shopping for groceries is a great tool to use in planning weekly meals.

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