I used to be the kind of home cook who would wait until I started to feel hungry before thinking about what to make for dinner. Those days are over. With a hungry toddler at home meal planning can no longer be left to the last minute. I’ve joined the 37% of Canadians who, according to a 2012 Ipsos Reid Poll, plan their meals in advance.
It takes a bit of effort, but I find meal planning really pays off during the week. A meal plan makes writing a grocery list a cinch, which saves me time wandering the aisles at the grocery store and practically eliminates those last minute outings for missing ingredients.
I also love how I don’t have to stress about what to make for dinner each evening after work when I’m feeling low in energy and everyone is hungry. The meal plan helps me get food on the table more quickly, which keeps the family fed and happy.
How to meal plan:
- Set aside some quiet time each week to make a meal plan.
- Use these meal and pantry planning templates to help you get started.
- Get the family together and brainstorm healthy meal and snack ideas for the week.
- Consider what foods are already in the fridge, freezer and pantry and may need to be used up.
- Start with family favourites, and then try adding something new.
- Browsing cookbooks or recipe websites can provide inspiration.
- Having trouble thinking of meal ideas? Check out the My Menu Planner for customizable meal plans and shopping lists.
- Use your meal plan to create a shopping list.
- Tack your meal plan to the fridge door and try to stick to it. (At home we’ll often swap around planned meals to accommodate our daily cravings.)
- Enjoy your week of meals and snacks.