These meal planning and prep tips will help to keep your family fed. You’ll save hours of time and money by not eating out. It allows you to plan your meals ahead of time. You’ll know exactly what you and your family will be eating each day of the week. When mealtimes roll around you won’t have to think about what to eat or if you have the right ingredients.
Meal Planning Tips
Knowing what you already have on hand and keeping it simple will help a lot when meal planning. If you know what your family likes to eat it will also help the meal planning process. Here are easy meal planning tips to make the process easier.
You need to know what you already have in your pantry and fridge. It is a good idea to take stock so you can plan meals around certain ingredients you have. Also, taking inventory keeps you from adding an item to your grocery list that you already have.
Use Ingredients You Already Have
Meal planning is easier and budget-friendly when you plan with what you already have. Use what is already in your pantry. The meat in the freezer, or the vegetables in the fridge.
Start with the Simple Meals
It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you first start to meal plan. Planning every meal for everyone in your family can seem like a lot to consider. Start with the simplest meals on your list to make meal planning easier.
For many people, breakfast is the simplest meal of the day. If you know you want to make an egg dish every day for breakfast, you can write down the ingredients you need. Then you’re done with planning breakfast for the week.
Make sure when planning your meals you write down all the ingredients you need. Also the number of each ingredient you need to make those meals.
Having more than one chicken dish? Count the amount you need for each meal and write down how much chicken to pick up when grocery shopping. This way you will only have to go to the store once a week.
Know Family’s Favorites
One of the worst things that you can do is to cook food for the week only to find that no one likes it. That’s time, money, and effort wasted.
Start with some favorites you know your family will eat. Since you already know how to prepare these meals it will be easy to make. Also, you’ll have a few meals that you don’t have to think too much about when preparing them.
Another tip before meal planning is to talk to your family about what they like and don’t like to eat. Once you know what everyone likes you can start to look for recipes according to those tastes.
Organize Your Grocery List
It does help to organize your grocery list. Organizing your shopping list will make shopping go a lot quicker. You know what order you shop in while in the grocery store. So if you always start in the produce section your vegetables and fruit should be first on the list.
Another meal planning tip is to use a theme for certain meals. For example, Tuesdays can be taco night. This can make creating meals easy. Also, it breaks up your week. So you don’t get bored with the same meal.
Only Plan One Week at a Time
When making a meal plan, stick to planning for one week at a time. If you make meal preps for longer periods, you can get bored with the food more easily.
Meal Prepping Tips
Prepping your food is an important part of meal planning. Prepping makes sure you have everything in place in your fridge. That way all you have to do is warm up the food.m Here are meal prepping tips to make the process easier.
Keep it Simple
When first starting out keep your meal prep simple. Prep parts of your meals instead of making the whole meal at once. This makes prepping easier and makes you feel less stressed for the week.
For example, for lunch, you can decide to eat veggies and chicken for the week. Prep enough chicken and veggies to last for the whole week.
Pre-Cook Your Meals
Pre-cooking saves a lot of time for you during the week. Because you only have to warm the food when it is time to eat.
Start by roasting a huge batch of vegetables. Then cook proteins like ground beef and chicken. Since these items are already cooked putting meals together will go much faster.
Prep Your Produce
If you don’t want to cook all your vegetables at once, you can pre-cut them. Then store them in airtight bags or containers in the fridge.
It’s much easier to make one huge mess in the kitchen. Instead of several huge messes throughout the week.
Save Time With Different Cooking Methods
Using different cooking methods can help with the meal prep process. For example, you can have many appliances going at once to cook different parts of your meals.
Such as vegetables roasting in the oven. Or chicken breasts in the pressure cooker, and chili in the slow cooker. Using many cooking methods will save you hours of work.
The Best Kitchen Appliances for Meal Planning
These tools and appliances make the meal prep and planning process much easier. These tools can also save you a lot of time. So your not in the kitchen all day prepping your meals for the week.
If you plan to do a lot of chopping and dicing to prep your meals, especially with lots of veggies, a food processor can come in handy! This is going to save you so much time.
Some foods can also be cut up with a blender if you don’t have a food processor or you need another appliance to run at the same time. A blender is helpful when making soups or sauces.
Air Fryer and Pressure Cooker
Get one or both, and you will have some help in the kitchen for meal prep. They each work in different ways, and for different purposes. The pressure cooker uses water and air to cook foods. The air fryer works by circulating air. Each of these works great and cost about the same.
Use the air fryer for healthier fried foods, like potatoes, “fried” chicken or nuggets. Basically any type of food you like crispy.
Use the pressure cooker for chicken breasts and other meat, hardboiled eggs, and veggies. It’s also great for preparing soups and beans.
Slow cookers are very handy to have when you are meal prepping. If you want to cook meals ahead of time, you can throw the ingredients in a slow cooker, turn it on, and let it cook while you prep other meals.
Using Meal Prep Containers
Another thing to consider when meal planning is how to store all the prepped food. Which containers are perfect for meal planning? Choosing the containers to hold all of the prepped food depends on your needs.
There are a lot of benefits to using glass containers.
- Easier to clean
- Lids are snugger
- You can microwave them
You don’t have to worry about plastic melting in the microwave. Or about what chemicals are entering your food from heating up the container in the microwave. Glass containers can be healthier for you and last longer. But they are more expensive.
The benefits of using plastic containers are the price. For now, plastic containers are what I use because they are cheaper. I use them for storing my food. I don’t heat my food up in them. To try to avoid chemicals leaking into the food.
Portioned containers have different compartments. Which makes it easy to separate different parts of your meals. Also, these have a bonus of portion control.
Some benefits of compartment containers:
- Everything is portioned out
- It makes it easy to balance your meals in each compartment
- Keep your food from mixing when you don’t want it to
Meal Prep and Planning Makes Life Easier
Meal prep and planning is a great way to have meals prepared ahead of time. Knowing exactly what you are eating each day of the week helps you to be prepared for the busy days. Such as when you might not have time to go to the store or cook something from scratch after work.
Planning your meals will also make sure you don’t waste food. You’ll save a lot of money eating at home compared to buying fast food.
I hope you found these meal planning and meal prep tips helpful. Do you plan out your family meals ahead of time? Let me know in the comments:)