10 Essential Things to Know About Meal Planning

10 Essential Things to Know About Meal Planning

Dana Velden
Dec 22, 2016

Meal planning. It's one of those things you know you should do, but don't. Until you finally give up all your resistance and you do. And then you go on to quickly discover that meal planning is saving your butt, each and every week. So if you don't meal plan, check out these tips and get on board. And if you do meal plan, check out these tips to help you do it better.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

1. Here's Why I Make the Same Recipes for Dinner Every Week

It's a myth: You do not have to come up with brand-new meals for every night of the week, every week of the year. In fact, most great cooks become great because they master a handful of recipes by doing them over and over and over again. So Lauren's advice here is not only practical and wise, but it's also aspirational. And inspiring.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

2. Go Beyond Taco Tuesday with 20 More Meal Templates

Here's a great idea for streamlining your meal planning. Assign a food theme to each night of the week for a month (pasta night, salad night, chicken night). Even though you're eating the same types of dishes, you'll be surprised at how varied your meals can be and how easy it is to just drop in recipes.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

3. The Golden Rule of Meal Planning

Even the best meal plans can get off course and leave the home cook feeling flushed and harried. The true secret to successful meal planning is understanding how to plan your work and then work your meal plan as the week unfolds.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

4. How I Use Google Sheets for Meal Planning

Sometimes an outline scrawled on the back of a form letter won't do; sometimes you need a spreadsheet. According to Christine, "To say that Google Sheets keeps our cooking and meal planning organized is an understatement. It's a lifesaver, and I love my weird-looking document with a fierce passion." Now that's an endorsement!

(Image credit: Brie Passano)

5. The One Thing I Prep on Monday to Save Time All Week

I'll spoil the surprise: it's snacks. Meghan preps snag bags for her family on Monday and it's a fantastic idea. It may seem inconsequential, but having prepped snacks can make a big difference when everyone is running helter-skelter in the morning.

(Image credit: Gina Eykemans)

6.The One Thing People Forget When Meal Planning

There are dozens of hyper-organized ways to become a gold-star meal planner. Apps, spreadsheets, special notebooks, and calendars are handy tools to keep you on task, but the most important rule for meal planning is one that very few have a place for in their apps or on their printable calendars, and it is charmingly simple. Can you guess what it is?

(Image credit: @that_journal)

7. How Do You Use Your Bullet Journal to Meal Plan?

Ariel asked the question: Could a bullet journal make you a better meal planner, and what would that even look like in the bullet journaling universe? And then she found several examples of beautiful journals that inspire not only organization, but also creativity.

(Image credit: Danielle Walker)

8. Against All Grain's Danielle Walker Explains How She Plans Her Meals

Danielle Walker, the blogger behind Against All Grain, shares her strategies for making sure she's prepped for a week's worth of healthy food for her family. Her 10 tips are practical and universal, so even if you don't cook like Danielle, you may want to meal plan like her!

(Image credit: Submitted by Victoria Harrison)

9. Master Your Monday: 5 Meal Planning Lessons for a Better Week

Meghan shares with us her five essential things we can do to start the week with our meals squared and sorted. Also included are snacks and celebrations, so it's not all spreadsheets and checked-off boxes!

(Image credit: Christine Han)

10. 5 Tips for Mastering Lunch: Build to Last All Week

Meal planning often focuses on dinner, but busy folks know that lunches are equally important. Unless you (and maybe even your children!) can eat lunch out every day, you're going to have to factor lunch planning in, too. Here are five excellent tips for lunch planning success.

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