Meal planning has become quite synonymous to meal prepping- making tons of food and filling your fridge with Tupperware, then eating Tupperware food all week.  Well I’m here to bring it back- meal planning is just that, a plan you’ve set up to make your week easier. Here are my dos and don’t of practical meal planning.

Do: make things you actually want to eat. Think about what’s in the fridge, do you have left overs? Do you love to eat burrito bowls everyday? Put it on the meal plan again and again- no shame in the burrito game.

Don’t: treat your plan like gospel.  If you go off plan don’t worry, it’s just for guidance. The point of planning is to make your life easier not harder.

Do: use your meal plan as a loose guide. If dinner is your trouble area pull 7 recipes for dinner this week and have a few lunch and snack ideas.  This way you’ve pre-thought of everything and don’t have to do any thinking later when you’re so hungry you want to eat your arm off.

Don’t: assign the meals to days of the week.  Who knows if you’re going to want curry on Tuesday? Just plan 7 recipes for the week and pick which one you’re feelin’ each night- no pressure.

Do: layout your meal plan before you grocery shop.  This way you can save money by not buying everything in sight because ‘you might want it for dinner’- you’ll already know everything you need for the whole week.

Don’t: spend hours on a Sunday ‘prepping’. If you want to have a few things premade then yay you, but its not necessary. The plan eliminates that last minute thinking of ‘ugh, whats for dinner?’ but it doesn’t mean you need to be pulling out tupperware food each night.  If you feel so inclined, make general things like rice, beans, or a slaw that you can do multiple things with.

Do: pull links to the recipes on your plan.  This will not only make it easier to pull your grocery list, but will also help you later so you’re not hunting recipes in your clogged pinterest boards.

You don’t have to make meal planning a big huge deal.  Think practically about what you’re going to be doing this week and plan accordingly.  Pre-thinking makes all the post-thinking much easier!

If you have an idea we haven’t mentioned here- share it in the comments below.

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