In the last week, I’ve thought about some tips that I could share to those of you newer to meal planning, or those of you wishing to improve your skills. Here are my top five that will help you achieve success!
1. Look at your schedule
There’s no point in scheduling a meal that will take 45 minutes to cook on a night you will be exhausted and have to be in and out within 1 hour. Look at the week to come and decide which nights you need 15-20 minutes meals, which nights you’ll be meeting friends for drinks after work, which days you’ll be home all day and could make a recipe that takes longer, etc..
2. Make a comprehensive grocery list
There’s nothing worse than taking the time to plan a week’s worth of meals only to discover mid-week that you have no beef for your beef and broccoli dish. Right after I assign dinner meals for Sunday-Friday, I type out a grocery list, in order that I’d find the items going around the store, to ensure that I have everything for the week. I can’t promise you’ll remember to pick up everything at the grocery store, or that the grocery store will have everything you’re looking for, but having a comprehensive list will help stack the odds in your favour.
3. Plan for snacks
If you come home from work or school everyday with a grumble in your belly, you are much less likely to stick to any plan, let alone a meal plan. When thinking about what you’ll eat for the week, think of at least one “new” snack, whether it is something you’ll be baking and eating throughout the week or something that you haven’t had in a while. I have found in the last few months that baking something that will last at least 2-3 days, really helps me get my week off to a good start. My co-workers also agree (they get the extras!).
4. Talk to your family
My husband is pretty open to eating a wide variety of foods, but occasionally I forget that he doesn’t eat a lot of certain foods (hello memories of vegan chickpea blondies!). Touching base ahead of time about the portions of meals that the recipe calls for versus what you are actually intending on cooking also helps to share important information such as “we’re not making the 16 cups of chili that this recipe calls for, by the way” before one starts dumping six cans of beans into the pot.
5. Acknowledge that good enough is good enough
I love the phrase that “sometimes good enough is good enough.” It’s impossible to be perfect, even when it comes to adhering to the best-laid plans for your week. Accept that completing even 3/5 meals as planned some weeks is still a fantastic achievement.