Beginners guide to planning meals

Read my top tips on reducing the stress at family mealtimes

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Planning meals can be challenging when you have no idea how to keep it simple and healthy. For beginners, planning meals helps save time and get other stuff done, not just hanging around the kitchen, whisking up a meal at very odd hours. So, to have a hand in this elusive but practical practice, you need a plan. 

1. Failure to plan is planning to fail

“What’s for dinner?” This is a common question in many homes. When you have no answer to this, it’s easy to make a trip to a fast-food café, for some unsatisfying and unhealthy meals. You need a plan that will save you time, money and in the process, make you live a healthier life. There is no need to hang onto a common menu week after week. Change your meals on weekly terms. For now, just begin by learning the ropes of planning meals. From here, you can go ahead and conquer your meal planning world.

2. Schedule weekly meals

Scheduling meals in line with your weekly schedule is great. Are you having a party within the week, will you be working late, are there dinner plans with friends this week? Understanding how busy your week is will help you plan accordingly. You could make meal replacement shakes to spice your meal planning ideas or to give yourself a break from cooking.

3. Write down your preferred menu. 

Having a look at cookbooks can give you an idea of what you might cook. A simple guide for beginners would be writing down what you are capable of cooking and something that you enjoy. Grab as much inspiration as you can from cookbooks, websites, and magazines. The idea is not to get bored with the same old meal in the course of your meal planning. 

4. Find a meal prep method that works for you

Once you have your ideas put together on what foods you want to have for the week, it’s time to decide what meal prep works best. In this area, you have a variety of options to choose from:

  • Grab-and-go meals– single portioned foods for those busy days
  • Batch cooking- Cooking lots of great healthy foods and freezing them to preheat later
  • Ready to cook ingredients- Having ingredients pre-prepared for cooking.

5.     Grocery shopping and meal prep time

Sticking to your ingredients for the week, go ahead and buy them fresh and off the shelf. Be on the lookout for expiring dates. Meals made of fresh produce should be consumed at the beginning of the week, when they still have their nutrients intact. Be sure to check a meal’s cooking temperature to avoid overcooking.  

Even as a beginner, planning your meals shouldn’t be hard. Just pick what works for you, commit to it, prepare and enjoy. Here is a quick tip. Start on a Friday and keep it at simple but delicious meals. It’s easier to stick to meal planning when we have enough time to prepare and adjust to it, so be ready to spare time for that.

Disclosure: collaborative post

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November 26, 2019
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