Ever struggled with meal planning? If so, you're going to love this week's episode, where I'm sharing the 4 simple ingredients for meal planning on a budget.
1. Decide the Number of Meals and Snacks
One of the first steps in meal planning that is often overlooked is deciding the number of meals and snacks that you're going to eat for the week. This step is important because when you don't take the step to plan it out you might find yourself grabbing something from the coffee shop or gas station.
Those little trips add up, which is why it's important to plan ahead as much as you can so that you're not wasting money buying overpriced things at the convenience store that you could have gotten for so much less at the grocery store.
2. Shop Your Pantry, Freezer, and Fridge
Have you ever found yourself restocking your pantry or your fridge after a shopping trip only to realize you just brought more of what you already have? That's why one of the most important steps in meal planning is checking to see what you have on hand first.
When you take this step you're not only going to save money by using what you already have, but you'll also stop buying things that you don't need. If you realize that things in your pantry, freezer, or fridge keep expiring, that might be a good sign to stop buying that. Instead, focus on buying the things you're actually going to eat.
3. Decide Your Recipes
Now that know the number of meals and snacks you need to make along with what ingredients you have on hand, it's time to search for recipes. I know that recipe searching can feel overwhelming at first. That's why I aim to keep things simple.
One great way to start is to Google, what to make with [insert ingredient]? Whether that's a meat, a veggie, or even a condiment you will be surprised what you will find on Google. Just make sure not to get lost down too many rabbit holes on those recipe sites. Just choose one and move on.
4. Create Your Meal Plan
Last, but certainly not least, once you have your recipes make sure to write them down on your weekly meal plan. There are two big reasons that I highly recommend not skipping this step. For one, it's helpful to know what meals you actually don't need to prepare for the week. If you know you're having dinner out with friends or you're traveling later in the week, you know what meals you don't need to prep ahead.
Secondly, it helps you take the guesswork out of what to eat. There's so much happening in the world right now that the last thing you might want to think about is what's for dinner. Planning ahead helps you think about that once and leave your brainpower to think about the more important stuff that you need to get done.
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