Having regular home cooked meals doesn’t have to require alot of home-cooking! Your family dinners can be fast and easy. Meal planning is the way to stock up on dinners without all the work.
These are some tips and tricks I have learned over the years to make the process fast and easy! I want to share them with you to help with your food journey.
My favorite freezer meals require 10 minutes or less of prep time and involve chopping a couple veggies and dumping everything into a gallon freezer bag. DONE! I promise each meal is also delicious and will get you and your family excited for dinner!
10 Tips to Make Meal Planning Fast & Easy
1. Start small with one or two freezer meals.
Meal planning is about making your life easier not harder. If this is your first-time meal planning, start small with one or two recipes. You can even double them to get 2-4 meals prepped. But don’t feel the pressure to prep 8-10 meals on your first time.
2. Give yourself the time to meal plan (Schedule it in your calendar!)
You do not have to do everything in one day! Don’t overwhelm yourself. I have been meal planning for years and I always plan separate days for planning, grocery shopping and meal prepping.
Plan a day to choose your meals, a day to grocery shop, and a day to prep so you enjoy the process instead of getting stressed out.
3. Go grocery shopping WITH a list. (Even better if its organized.)
Having a grocery list will help you get everything you need. It also takes stress away from shopping in general. I love lists and efficiency, so I actually enjoy the process of organizing my list. You may think I am a little crazy…maybe I am…but it really does make shopping more relaxing. I can walk through the store and grab everything I need without back tracking.
4. Label all your freezer bags/containers ahead of time. (Day before even).
Having all your freezer bags/containers labeled takes that off your list on meal prep day. This is a great excuse to watch your favorite Netflix series while labeling. What do you include on the label? I recommend writing down the recipe title, cooking instructions, and expiration date.
If you don’t want to write things out then print off labels! (if provided on a meal plan you find) and just tape them to your containers. Takes minutes and you are done.
5. On meal prep day don’t take out every single ingredient at once!
Don’t try to take out ingredients for every meal all at once. Some ingredients shouldn’t sit out on the counter for two long and time depends on how many meals you are prepping and what meal plan you are using. Plus you need that valuable counter space. Give yourself room and just take out what you need per recipe.
6. Cut all fruit and veggies (per recipe) before assembly.
I recommend cutting all fruit and veg per recipe. Some people cut up all the onions for every recipe and just take from the onion pile as needed. However I am not a fan of this method because some items (like potatoes) don’t sit out well. Also it feels like you have to prep every recipe immediately. When I have a lot to prep I want to be able to stop if needed.
7. Prep ONE recipe at a time (Don’t feel the pressure to prep everything at the same time).
Its not a race. This is about you and making your life easier so take it one recipe at a time. No need to do everything at once.
If you need to do it in two days, one day, or one hour its up to you.
8. Stop when your tired or out of time and come back tomorrow.
DO NOT feel like you cannot stop if needed. Let’s say you have set aside time to prep 15 meals but then Timmy comes in with a cut or bump on the head. Remember the point of meal planning is to make life easier. It’s not meant to be stressful.
9. Make it as relaxing as possible.
Whether that means all hands-on deck chopping and dicing together as a family or going at it solo with a glass of wine and Michael Buble.
Meal planning can be a time for self-care, you might even start looking forward to it. Its all about setting yourself up for success by scheduling in the time.
As a high extrovert I LOVE prepping with my family. But there are some days that my husband plays with the kids and I get me time in the kitchen while meal prepping. Its super therapeutic for me.
Dance to your favorite album, watch your favorite tv show and enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I know sometimes there really isn’t time to make things relaxing. Remember that every meal you prep is a meal you do not have to cook amidst the craziness of life. It’s worth it!
10. Use recipes familiar to you that you love!
As you find recipes you love save them! It sucks to find something amazing on Pinterest and it gets deleted. Or just forgetting which website you were on.
Plus if you’re familiar with a recipe it takes way less time to prep and way less brain power to think.
So print off your favorite recipes, or save them to your computer and that way you can easily plan out meal plans. You will also then store up on great meals for an easy dinner you love. The more you do it the faster and easier it will be.
You are now ready to get started with your very own meal plan! If you have any other thoughts and questions I would love to hear from you! Comment below.
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