Well its our second week in our #TuesdayTips series. Like I mentioned in last weeks episode, I explained “How to Budget.” This weeks article will be a continuation for part of it. We spoke about what budgeting is, why its important, how to budget and how to break down recipes to figure out the cost per recipe and cost per serving.
Now when it comes to meal planning, theres three major reasons why people choose to meal plan. The first reason is portion control and nutrition. Many people do it to make life easier when they are working to stay healthy.
The second reason is that it helps to know what will be eaten at each meal and which ingredients will be needed. This also helps families be organized and keep a running grocery list. It comes in handy not going off the list when it is all planned out.
Thirdly, people like to meal plan to keep a tight budget. Knowing how much a meal costs and how much it makes can really help financially.
All three are very good reasons and important to understand the benefits, especially as you get older and moving out of your parents home.
Here are a few examples of Menu planning:
Personally I like the “This week’s Meals” plan because it also includes a grocery list, which is needed when you look at recipes. It cuts down on the amount of trips weekly or bi weekly. You can plan it out and you can add notes.
Now there is such a thing as Meal Prep, which is preparing meals ahead for the week. I will go into this in far more detail in next weeks #TuesdayTips but the gist of meal prepping is making and proportioning in containers. Some families do make a head and freeze so it can just be pulled out but individuals, especially when focusing on health related reasons.
How to Meal Plan
I talked about reasoning but it is important know why. If its focusing on your health, you will want to find and plan out for healthier recipes. If its budgeting, you will want to plan meals that get you more bang for your buck. Being organized is a must as well. I have a ton of recipes. I mean between access to the internet, cook books and our own recipes. Its always a good idea to sort through them. We get rid of loose recipes that we just don’t cook or bake or ones we aren’t fond of. Some of them I do make adjustments for so those notes are added and it gets typed up into our family cookbook.
To beginning, we will be focusing on one week at a time. You will just repeat the process for the next 3 weeks. You can plan it out weekly, bi weekly or even monthly. That is your choice. Just pick a day to sit down and plan.
I know many parents don’t ask children what they want often but I do give Matthew options and he’s pretty good with choosing healthier. We also are open to new recipes so if you want to have a time for new recipes, go for it.
Gather your recipes for the week. You will need
Yes that is 21 meals, plus snacks if you like snacks or for kids. Please go ahead and include that. Will you be cooking 21 separate meals? That is up to you but as a mom, no we never make 21 meals a week. There are always leftovers. We plan for 1-2 nights of leftovers and usually eat them for lunch a few days a week. It really depends on what is planned out and how many servings we get out of each recipe.
The good thing is, just because its written down, doesn’t mean it can’t change. That means it can switch days or you can change up what you do. It is a lot harder to do when you meal prep but this is just planning. You can also double recipes, or make more than once. I tend to do this for breakfast and lunch, if we aren’t doing left overs.
I also want to note that many people can also plan out using quick meals, like microwavable, or family size bags, like we do on occasion from Trader Joes. There is nothing wrong with it. Lets be honest, there are days when the day passes you by, or you are under the weather, or maybe you have a lot going on. All of that is natural.
If you don’t like a recipe, change it. Add seasoning or adjust measurements, make replacements. Make it a challenge on yourself. I also suggest working on learning how to understand how much you actually pay for groceries and costs.