Plan, Shop, Pack, Repeat: Tips for Menu Planning
By this point a lot of people are happy to wave goodbye to summer and say hello to fall. When school starts back up we have to be more disciplined with our time both at work and at home. Now is a great time to adopt a new food routine. Having a routine will save you time and money plus it will improve your nutritional intake. Here is what I suggest we all try to do as we roll into the fall .
- On Friday, print out a blank one-month calendar on your lunch break.
- On your commute home that day, roughly plan out your week of food intake. Pick three breakfasts, three lunches and five dinners you want to make/eat next week and write them into the days of that week.
- Based on your meals, make out a grocery list on Saturday morning while you drink your coffee and shop for items you need at a convenient time that weekend.
- Spend one hour on the day you shop, roughly prepping some of the items you bought. You can wash and cut your produce. You can pack snacks for the week so they are Grab & Go. You can make a salad and use it during the week. Even doing something as simple as grouping the items you need for each meal saves a little time during the week!
- Use your lunch break or other downtime the next week to find a couple new recipes online to incorporate into the following week’s food plan. When you have a recipe you don’t have to come up with an idea, the thinking is done for you.
- Don’t give up on the routine! Sometimes you won’t be able to make and eat every meal you planned to have but don’t give up. Try to eat at home when possible. Eating out may save a little time but it’s expensive and it’s definitely not as good for you. If you fall off the routine just start it up the next week. Keep your calendar on the fridge as a friendly reminder.
The key to having a food plan and sticking to it is thinking about it ahead of the time. The plan won’t work if you leave all of the work until Sunday night. Just do a little bit during the week and you’ll be on your way to a healthier and much less chaotic Fall!