Meal Planning - Part 4 - Top Tips for Successful Meal Planning
Hi there! Welcome back to Part 4 of the Meal Planning Series!
If you missed the first three parts, head on back to check out "Part 1: The top reasons to start meal planning", "Part 2: getting organized for meal planning", and "Part 3: how to meal plan", before reading today's post!
Today, I wanted to share the top tips you can use to help with your meal planning!
Even though meal planning can be easy once you get into the practice of it, it can be really easy to fall off the wagon - either for a whole week (oops, forgot to plan!) or for a night or two (things got CRAZY!). But having a few tips in your back pocket can help make things a whole lot easier.
Always take stock of your Fridge, Freezer, and Pantry
To avoid waste and to save money, make sure you take into account what's in your fridge, freezer, and pantry and plan to use up anything perishable first. Try to take a look in the fridge mid-way through your week to make sure you've got a plan for those hidden veggies in the crisper!
Use Pinterest to Organize your Recipes
Once you know what ingredients you have on hand (ie. what was in the fridge, freezer, or pantry), you can browse Pinterest for meal ideas & inspiration.
Organize your Pinterest boards by meat selection or by vegetables to make it easier to find recipes for the ingredients you already have on hand.
The Pinterest boards on the Lazuli Farms Pinterest page are organized this way. Head on over to the Lazuli Farms Pinterest and give us a follow! We save a few new recipes each week!
Stick with the Same Day Each Week
Choose the same day each week (or biweekly or monthly) to pick up your groceries - whether that's the Farmers Market, a farm store, or at the local grocery store. Based on that, choose to meal plan on the day prior or two days prior.
This will allow you to pick your meals and craft up your grocery list as you meal plan. In our household, we stock up on dry ingredients every two weeks on a Tuesday so we meal plan every Sunday. In between, I make sure to add items to the grocery list that we take the last one out of the pantry or open the last one in the fridge.
Life happens! Some days, things don't go as planned and you don't end up making what you planned. That's okay! If you've got the meat already thawed or there's veggies that could go bad, move that meal plan to the next day so you can use up the ingredients.
Make a list of Easy Meals for Busy Nights
Make a quick cheat sheet of easy meals that you can whip up with on-hand ingredients in less than 20 minutes. You'll be less tempted to swing through the drive-through if you know you have a whole list of easy meals that you can prepare. Take it one step farther and freeze pre-cooked meat that you can pull out, thaw, and use to create a quick meal. Think meals such as:
1) frittata with cheese, spinach, and pre-cooked bacon or sausage (or whatever you've got in the fridge!)
2) fried rice with peas, carrots, and pre-cooked sausage, diced pork or beef roast, or chicken
3) wraps with leftover meat plus cheese, lettuce, tomatoes
4) quesadillas or nachos
5) pita pizzas
For more quick meal ideas, download the FREE "Quick Meal Ideas for Busy Nights" sheet from Lazuli Farms
Plan for Leftovers
It's a great idea to plan for a supper to use up all the leftovers from the week! Choose one of your busy nights so you can just pull out whatever is hiding in the fridge and reheat it for a mish-mash of leftovers. If you don't end up with any leftovers, that's okay! Just throw together one of those "easy" meals you've got on your list!
For more tips & tricks, follow us over on Instagram! We've been adding new "reels" each week with tips & tricks to help cook great food at home!