Often times during school, our levels of stress and lack of perceived time can lead us down a path of bad eating habits and poor meal choices. For me, I spent a large chunk of money on eating out because I was lazy about making food. It is a goal of mine this semester to save money and meal plan. I have been taking a course that will improve my skills to stick with meal planning and I believe it will be beneficial to you!
1. Starting out.
The hardest part of meal planning is starting it. If it’s your first time, like it was mine, I wasn’t even sure where to start or what to do. I would just plan stuff in my head, but that lead to failure pretty quickly. When starting out meal planning find fun, new recipes that are healthy and somewhat easy. There are a million and one recipes online, so get out there and start collecting them.
2. Slow and steady.
If you get down on yourself for not following through (like me) then start of slow. If it isn’t feasible to start off meal planning 7 days a week because you have an insanely busy schedule (like me) and you just cleaned up the piles of dishes in the kitchen until it was spotless and you don’t want to ruin it again, that’s okay! Just start off with meal planning 2 days a week and work your way up from there. For those days, be sure to plan something for each meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks). Once you find a good routine that works for you, it will be easier to add more days.
3. Make a list.
Begin by looking through your cabinets and refrigerator for the supplies that you already have. I often make the mistake of skipping this step and I end up buying something that I already have. This is a waste of money and can be easily avoided. After you see what you have, you can begin to form some ideas of what meals you want to make for the week (don’t forget to include healthy items such as fruits and veggies for snacking). Now, using your new recipes and meal ideas, make a list of the ingredients that you need.
Meal planning can benefit us in many ways from saving money to eating healthier. It may seem challenging and change can be hard, but by making meal planning a priority in our lives and sticking to it, change is possible!