Meal planning really is so helpful!! Not only is it just a great way to organize the recipes you want to make, but it saves time and money, and allows you to consistently make healthy meals for you and your family. This is especially important for those that have little ones running around to entertain like me! Meal planning can be a great way to help your health and fitness journey too, so keep reading for my meal planning process and for some of my favorite recipes.
My Meal Planning Process + Favorite Recipes
To get started with meal planning, I recommend first making a list of your favorite recipes and recipes you know you’ll enjoy. This will be your recipe bank and will come in handy when thinking of what to put in your meal plans. You can write them down in a notebook, buy a meal planner notebook, or even make a recipe Pinterest board. I have SEVERAL! It’s also super helpful to have a list of your pantry essentials, which are the ingredients you know you tend to cook with and can use regularly to make healthy meals. Keeping your pantry stocked with these essentials makes for super easy meal planning, but let’s be real, sometimes we let our fridges and cupboards go a little bare – that’s okay! We all have ingredients we let sit in the back of the cupboard and forget about, but these ingredients can be put to use! Using what you already have if you’re running low on ingredients is a great way to get creative. The other night I put together the easiest curry with a can of coconut milk, green curry paste and leftover veggies! Oh and I had cauliflower rice in the freezer that was easy to serve with it.
Once you have your recipe list, you’re ready to create a weekly menu! Again, this can be put in a notebook or you can invest in a cute meal planner. Decide on what day you want certain recipes for the week. It’s good to get in a routine of having a day when you plan, a day when you grocery shop, and the rest of the days for the meals! That way you get a break, and the days when you’re planning or shopping can be takeout day. It’s good to get some variety and not tire yourself out when meal planning. Usually we’ll have one night that’s a soup/stew, another night that’s Mexican-inspired (Augustine has been very into burritos!), a veggie and grain bowl night, and a salad and leftover night. Oh, and remember to make a grocery list for shopping so you don’t forget any key ingredients!! I usually write my grocery list as I’m looking through the recipes and verifying what’s in the fridge/pantry.
When you get into the routine of meal planning you can start having fun with it! Try having themed nights, like tacos on Tuesdays and Italian food on Saturdays! Have the kids choose the theme for a night to make it a kid’s night! It’s such a fun way to have something to look forward to and to get the whole family involved. I always love trying new recipes, too, and introducing Augustine to something he’s very had before. Another helpful tip is to start cooking in batches and meal prepping, which saves time and allows you to use pre-made ingredients in other recipes or have leftovers for the next day!
Here are some of my favorite recipes that I love to use in my meal plans!
- Charlie Bird Farro Salad – one of my go to lunches!
- Eggplant Quinoa Pesto Bowls– crave this and it’s so easy to put together
- Vegetarian Chili– our family’s favorite chili recipes!
- 15 Minute Summertime Pasta Recipe– perfect when it’s hot outside!
- Instant Pot Cauliflower and Butternut Thai Curry– One of the curries that Matthew and Augustine crave!
- Vegan Caesar Salad– I’ve made this so many times because it’s Matthew’s favorite! This one is a close second!
- Easy 1 Pot Massaman Curry– so delicious and easy to throw together!
- Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie Copycat Recipe – I actually made these over the weekend! SO good!!
- Apple and Beet Salad – This is one of my go-to healthy lunches!
- Overnight Oats Three Ways– This is a recipe that really helps speed up my mornings since I can make them the night before!
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How do you guys plan your meals? Have you guys tried any new recipes lately that you’ve loved?