Meal planning can help you eat healthier while saving money and alleviate anxiety about what to eat.
Start meal planning by conducting an inventory of your refrigerator and pantry to identify possible meals to make during the week, followed by creating a shopping list.
1. Take a look at your pantry and fridge
Save yourself money and reduce waste by making use of everything in your pantry and fridge before shopping. Doing this also provides an opportunity to get rid of items you no longer consume or which are set to expire (consign them to local food banks or just dispose of them).
Once you know what ingredients are in your pantry, review your meal calendar for next week to identify recipes made possible with them. Create a shopping list if any meals need purchasing and then compare prices at grocery stores to ensure you’re receiving good deals.
If you have extra food items you aren’t using right away, freezing can help prolong their shelf life while making meal prep simpler when needed. Labeled freezer containers can help make keeping track of what you have easier – as can labels to track what is stored there and ease cooking later on!
2. Make a list
Make a list of food items your pantry, fridge and cupboards need in order to avoid overbuying or leaving something at the store that has expired. Doing this will reduce risk by helping prevent you from overspending on unnecessary products while also helping ensure nothing slips by unnoticed.
Prioritize your list depending on how low you feel comfortable your stock levels are. For instance, essentials like toilet paper may need replenishing when they reach yellow levels; but nonessentials such as those delectably salty potato chips might wait until red levels.
Keep an eye out for weekly grocery store sales ads and online coupons to see which items are on sale and seasonal, stocking up will save money while cutting food waste.
3. Make a shopping list
Shopping with a list is one of the best ways to reduce impulse buys and save money over time. Keep your shopping list handy like on a whiteboard or online spreadsheet so that everyone in your household knows what’s coming up for dinner and snacks every week.
Plan to Eat is one such app that makes meal planning faster and simpler by collecting recipes, plugging them into a calendar, and auto-generating grocery lists. There may be a small monthly fee involved but investing in such software could make this process even quicker and simpler!
Your meal plan template can also include other components, like a food servings tracker. This tool is especially beneficial to families looking to monitor and track how many fruits, vegetables, proteins and carbs they’re eating daily as part of weight loss goals or to stay accountable with weight management goals.
4. Make a meal plan
Meal plans make eating healthily simpler. By planning ahead and choosing food from all five food groups and minimizing added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium intake.
Meal plans can also help individuals manage health conditions like diabetes or heart disease more effectively, often with assistance from registered dietitians and healthcare providers.
As part of developing your meal plan, it’s essential to take an inventory of what already exists in your pantry, fridge and freezer. Reviewing expiry dates on food can help prevent overbuying and food waste. When creating a schedule to follow your meal planning needs it may also help establish when there’s time available for meal prep or preparation – aim to establish a routine so it becomes second nature – this way reducing any stress in the long run!