I’m glad you are back for Meal Planning Week here at My Plant-Based Family! Yesterday I shared part 1 from this series Meal Planning Tips that Really Work! Today I’m rounding out the list with more practical tips to help you hit the ground running. If you have questions about Meal Planning leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them this week.
Meal Planning Tips that Really Work
Recently, I shared my first 4 Meal Planning Tips with you. Today I’ll share 4 more!
5. Plan Around Your Schedule
Being over ambitious with your Meal Plan can set you up for failure just as easily as not planning. Be careful that you don’t plan a complicated dish when you have a busy day/night. If you have church on Wednesday nights or ball games on Friday just plan accordingly. Maybe you’ll stop for pizza on the way home from the game or pack sandwiches so you can picnic at the game. I like to plan Crock Pot meals on busy days. Is Monday a hectic day at your house? Plan an easy meal like Crock Pot Mexican Casserole.
With your schedule in mind, plan to double recipes so you can eat them again the next evening. I like to make meals that can be slightly altered to create multiple meals. Amber at Adventures in Mindful Living loves my Crock Pot Mexican Casserole and will make a double batch so she can make Enchiladas the second day and Super Lentil Taco Dip the third day.
6. Make a Grocery List
Use your new Meal Plan to make your grocery list. If you have all of the ingredients you need you are much more likely to stick to you plan. Since I’ve already mentioned the Mexican Casserole I’ll continue to use that as my example. For the Mexican Casserole you only need rice, beans, tomato sauce and spices. You can add other optional ingredients like corn, lettuce, etc. but these are the main ingredients. If you were making a more complicated recipe like my Gluten-Free Vegan Lasagna you will have a longer ingredient list, however if you forget a few key ingredients you wouldn’t be able to make your meal.
7. Consider “Some” Batch Cooking
I’m not suggesting you need to cook every meal for the month (or even week) at one time. I don’t have the facilities for something like that. What DOES work well for us is cooking large portions of beans, grains and potatoes and using them for multiple meals throughout the week.
If I cook 4 cups of dry rice it expands to over 8 cups of cooked rice. I can use it in a casserole, stir fry, season it up and add it to burritos and even add fruit and cinnamon and eat it for breakfast. This week I was short on time but I had leftover rice so I threw some broccoli and bell peppers in a to pan, dumped in the leftover rice and added Braggs Liquid Aminos. I gave it a few stirs and turned it off as soon as the veggies were done. My family loved it and it took less than 15 minutes to prepare and I barely paid attention to it.
I’ll often cook a bunch of sweet potatoes together, we can grab then for a snack, breakfast or a side dish.
8. Make it Fun
Get together with a friend or two and talk about food. Sounds easy enough, right? My friends and I have a good time talking about food and sharing recipe ideas. Just take some time to jot down any ideas you like. Brainstorming with a friend can help if you get stuck in a rut and need a little nudge out. Your friends won’t know if you pass on all of their ideas too.
You can also experiment with one new recipe every week. Borrow a cookbook or get new ideas on Pinterest and try something new. This can be a fun way to find new recipes you love.
Give Meal Planning a try, let me know what works for you. Take a look through my FREE Meal Plan archive if you need some ideas.