Plan | Printables

How Meal Planning and Prep Can be Helpful and a Free Printable

April 20, 2017

meal planning, meal prep

My husband and I spend time during the weekend to plan and prepare meals for the week ahead. This is a system that works well for us and we continue to do it.

Meal planning and preparation seems like a daunting task, but the benefits outweigh the time that it involves to complete it. Taking the opportunity to make sure that your meals are planned out and prepped for the week can be helpful when you’re tired after a long day at work. It’s better than wondering what you are going to make when you get home each day.

Meal Planning

Meal planning on the fly is a lot like grocery shopping on an empty stomach. You never quite know what you’re going to end up with when you’re finished. It’s helpful to take time, once a week, to plan out what you are going to have for dinner each night. Planning ahead helps with adding the needed items to your weekly grocery shopping list. It also helps to plan around what activities are going on each night. With our busy lives, is it easier to make a meal in the Crock Pot® or Instant Pot® or would reheating something be a better option?

A tip to help you out with meal planning is to come up with about a month’s worth of different meals. Once you have done this, you can rotate them, so you have a different menu each week. Coming up with a month’s worth of meals can seem like a daunting task. You can use some of your family’s favorites in the rotation, as well as adding some new additions. The internet also offers great inspiration for recipes that fit your lifestyle.

 

meal planning, meal prep

Meal Preparation

Another way to help with the never-ending question of what you’re going to have for dinner is to do some meal prep ahead of time. If you are making something, cook extra so you can freeze it for later. Cooking ahead works well for so many items and saves time during the week.

For example, if you are baking chicken for dinner, bake some extra chicken, with a little light seasoning, and either freeze it whole or slice it up. You can then take it out for a meal, let it thaw in the refrigerator, and use it. If you leave it whole, you can add it to your favorite recipe, or if it’s sliced up, you could make chicken tacos or fajitas, a chicken stir-fry, or use it in a white bean chicken chili.

Making extra or meal prepping saves you valuable time during the week and simplifies your weeknights after a busy day. It also gives you a more nutritious and sustainable meal than grabbing something on the go.

Free Printable

To get you started with meal planning, I’ve included a free weekly menu planner.  You can use it to plan out your meals each week. Click on the image of the Menu Planner to join and get access to your free printable.

menu planner, meal planning

 

The benefits of meal planning and preparation outweigh the time that it involves to complete it. Taking the time to plan out your meals and prepare them ahead of time for the week can be helpful during your busy week. Download the free printable and get started on meal planning today.

Until next time,

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meal planning, meal prep