How Far in Advance Do You Plan Meals?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Next month we are going to spend some time talking about Preserving and Planning, with plenty of pickle recipes and freezer jam, but also tips and ideas for getting meals planned out for the busy fall months. At The Kitchn, our goal is to help you cook more often, and to enjoy it more, and planning ahead is one of the golden tickets to feeling in control of your daily dinner schedule. So we’re curious: how far ahead do you plan your meals now? Do you cook (and freeze) a month of meals at a time? Do you simply see what’s at the farmers market and wing it? 

Personally, given that I don’t have any kids and it’s just my husband and myself, I tend to be quite last-minute about meals. Unless we’re having a dinner party, I’ll run out to the store in the afternoon and just pick up a few ingredients (and we get take-out more than I’d care to admit). 

But I’ve been pushing myself this summer to plan a week ahead and at least sketch in a few meals to make for the following week. I have been finding that I actually look forward more to cooking when I know I have the ingredients in hand, and that there’s a plan to be followed. 

What about you? Are you a master planner? Do you cook ahead, as well as plan ahead? Or are you more off-the-cuff, like me? If you are a planner, or would like to prep and make meals ahead more often, what kind of resources help you the most? 

More on meal planning:  15 Tips for Better Weekly Meal Planning 

(Image: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan:  Recipe: Simple Rosemary-Rubbed Pork Chops)