October 07, 2020 5 min read

The biggest mistake anyone can make when they adopt a brand-new diet is to “wing it.” Instead, make it a priority to plan the meals you will eat throughout the week. Meal planning can get overwhelming, but there are a few things you can do to make it easier for you. Many of us don’t have personal chefs, so a lot of the work falls onto our shoulders. Keep reading for some top tips for easier meal planning you can try!

Look for Recipes

The key to easier planning is to find the recipes for the meals you plan on cooking. With the internet, it’s never been easier to find delicious and healthy inspiration for meals that you can cook at home. The main thing is to make sure it fits into your diet and that you have all the ingredients you need to make it.

Build a Personal Menu

Next up, save all the recipes you have by building yourself a personal menu. The amount of detail you want to put into your planning all depends on what you need, but it never hurts to be detailed. You could map out your meals for the entire week or leave some flexibility for what you choose. However, you’ll want to have a nice collection of recipes stored on your phone or elsewhere that you can reference.

Get Your Food Delivered or Pick It Up

While you could make a trip to the grocery store a few times in a month, a far more convenient and available option is to get your food delivered right to your doorstep. Think about how much time this saves! And you can continue to keep track of all the ingredients you get based on your past orders as well. You can also pick up your groceries at the store without having to find it all, either, so you can avoid the hassle.

Do Inventory

Before you head to the grocery store or start a food order online, make sure you do some inventory in your home. Now that you have an idea of what you need for the meals you want to prepare, check to see if you have any of the ingredients lying around your home instead of going to the store and spending money to get something you might already have. You might be surprised how much you have in your home, and you might even be able to cook a few meals already. The point is, be sure to do this before you start shopping.

Designate Cooking Days

Now that you have the ingredients for your meals, you must now figure out when to cook. A problem many run into when they first start planning meals is getting too much food and waiting too long to use it so that they end up throwing out a ton of spoiled food. The best thing you can do is cook as close to when you get the food as possible so that you don’t end up with expired food. Unless you like cooking often, give yourself two or three days a week when you can cook all your meals.

Freeze Foods

If you are worried about losing ingredients or don’t plan on making them right away, make sure you throw them in the freezer. This way, you can give yourself a bit more time to cook it. If you do this, though, you will also want to be sure to pull the ingredients from the freezer the night before you need to use it—another reason why having designated cooking days throughout the week is vital.

Cook Ahead

A crucial tip with meal planning is to cook as many meals as you can all at once because your future self will thank you later. However, another thing you must keep in mind is how long the food will last in the refrigerator after you cook it, especially if you include meat in your meals. Be sure you are looking at food safety guidelines to make sure you are storing your meals properly.

Cook on a Grill

You have many kitchen utilities to choose from to cook all the meals you have been planning, but they aren’t all the same. One of the easiest ways to plan your meals for the entire week is to use a grill. A grill allows you to cook several foods at once, from meat to vegetables, which can be incredibly beneficial when you are planning multiple meals for the week.

Use a Crockpot

A grill isn’t the only way to make your life easier while meal prepping. Another common accessory you should have in your kitchen is a crockpot. Not only will a crockpot help you cook delicious meals, but it’s also simple since you just throw everything in it. Then you can either start preparing another recipe, get a workout in on a lateral trainer, or do something else entirely as your meal slow cooks in the crockpot.

Join a Meal Delivery Service

Many people enjoy the art of cooking, but others do not. Perhaps the top tip for easier meal planning is to join a meal delivery service. Based on all the ads out there, a ton of options for meal delivery services are available to you. What’s great about a meal delivery service is that you will either receive frozen meals or the ingredients to make them. Many of these meal delivery services also leave plenty of room for customization so that you can meet the needs of your diet. If you don’t have the time to cook or haven’t mastered the skill yet, starting with a meal delivery service is a great first step to make meal planning easier on yourself.

Download an App

Technology can also become a valuable tool in your meal planning, with plenty of options to choose from. Downloading an app for health and fitness can help you keep track of the nutritional values of meals, give you inspiration for new ones, and help you remember certain recipes that you’ve used in the past. Gone are the days of having to write down a grocery list or add to an overflowing recipe book. Many smartphone apps available on both Google Play and the App Store have made meal planning simpler than ever before.

Be Flexible

A healthy diet can become old fast, even if you are slowly seeing the results you are striving for. A great way to mix it up is to leave some room for creativity. For instance, you can cut yourself up some lettuce, fruits, and vegetables and create any salad easily based on what you have a taste for. The same is true with the meat you have cooked. Try to leave yourself the option to make some other healthy meals in a week by not preparing an entire recipe all the time and, instead, giving yourself the bare bones to make something else.

Top Tips for Easier Meal Planning

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