Intro to Effective Meal Planning

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Hello everyone, I hope your having a fantastic Wednesday - I know I am! This week I wanted to share with you all why I believe in menu planning, as well as some of the basic how to's that make menu planning success a lot easier!  This is part 1 of a two part post, next week I will be sharing some of my favourite menu planners, different styles, and how to use them all. So don't miss it! 

 

Why pre plan using a planning tool?  

 

If you are a hard core planner (hey, some people are!) this may seem like a no brainer, but if your like me (and many others) you tend to plan on and off, mostly when there is something that strongly requires it (such as a big event or important deadline). While I often have weeks/months where I slack off on my personal day planner and journal, meal planners are something I always stick with - or at the very least go back to. Here is why you should stick with them too:

  • Having a menu planed, written and in a visible location (I keep mine in my #BulletJournal) makes eating super simple, that way you don't have to play guessing game "what should we have for (insert meal here)?"
     
  • Any time you have a  plan structure is created. With structure comes less stress, as well as the ideal conditions to implement lasting habit changes that you not only feel good about but are actually good for you!
     
  • Because you have a plan you can easily make a list, which means you are able to shop more effectively, saving time by getting everything you need on the first trip! It also saves you prep time in the kitchen since you know what ingredients you need for your next 3-4 meals!  *Pro tip: prepping extra veggies all at once not only saves you from doing it before each meal, but also reduces the amount of time you have to spend doing dishes! 
  • Tying into my last point of having a plan (and from that plan a stellar list) this will also save you money, since there will be less trips to the store (meaning less gas and unneeded indulgence items), less wasted food, and ultimately less water and electricity for dishes. 
     
  • When you eat with a plan you eat healthier overall. Since you have a big picture of the weeks food choices it is easier to be more ballanced, making sure there isn't too much of anything, and that nothing gets missed out!
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5 Tips for successful planning

For some of us creating a plan is easier said than done, so here are 5 tips that I use to make my planning more effective, and ultimately succesful: 

  1. Just do it! Dive right in and start planning! (Next weeks post will be all about different types of planners, and how to use them)
     
  2. Have your personal, work and family schedules with you when you plan, if not the plan will be damn hard to stick too thanks to good ol' life.
     
  3. Include your significant other and/or family in the planning process, that way you easily cover foods that everyone likes (insurung you don't have to cook multiple meals).
     
  4. Allow for changes! Again, that crazy thing called life often gets in the way of the best laid plans, so dont sweat its twists and turns, after all sometimes you've just got to go with the flow!
     
  5. Consult your favorite reference guides to make planning balanced and creative meals a breeze! When in doubt consult a pro like me! (I can make a menu plan for you to follow, or we can work together so you can learn to master the menu planner for yourself
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3 Tips for sticking with it

Since sticking to the plan is just as important as making the plan itself, I thought I would add in a few tips for sticking with it before wrapping things up, so here they are:

  1. Each day look at your menu plan as a whole and ask yourself, does this plan still fit in to my day? And am I still excited for the meals I have chosen? If either of those answers are no, look at the other days you have remaining in your week and identify a planned day that works better for you, or that you are more excited to have. keeping in mind to regularly reference back to your plan.
     
  2. Keep your meal plan in a safe, yet visable place. I seriously can't stress that one enough, I keep mine in my #bulletjournel because it is a tool that I use regualry, usually have on me, and above all it works for me. For you it may be keeping it on your fridge or in the pantry at home, or maybe having it electronically available is your preference. Doesn't matter, just find something that works for you and run with it!
     
  3. Reference your plan regularly throught the day and week, journel on it, doodle or scribble on it, leave notes, make it yours and develop some kind of working relationship with it. Consistancy is key, so like many other things in this life, the more you stick with it, the easier and more effecive it will become! 

Well thats all for this week, don't miss out on next wednesdays post, as ill be continuing on the topic with some meal planer suggestions and how to use them!

-A

 

 

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