Learn all about Meal Planning from why you need it to how you can do it successfully. Become a Meal Planning Pro with free templates and recipes included in this post.
What is Meal Planning?
By now, you might have heard about meal planning from your coworker or any fitness instructor on Instagram — but what exactly is it? In short, meal planning is when you cook all meals ahead of time for the whole week and portion them out into single-serving containers so they’re easy to grab and eat.
This can look different for many people, especially based on dietary restrictions. Some people plan out all of their dinners for the week while others go as far as to plan out three meals per day, per person plus snacks. You can decide how to meal plan based on you and your family’s needs and lifestyle. There’s no one way to do this, so play around and have fun with it!
Why Meal Plan?
Do you ever struggle with what to make for dinner every night? Meal planning takes the guesswork and stress out of eating and cooking. It’s especially nice for people with busy lifestyles who might not have time to cook for themselves every day.
Another reason to meal plan is to ensure a healthier lifestyle. If you have food already planned out, ingredients purchased, and food prepped, you’re better able to control what you’re putting into your body and less likely to go grab a last-minute meal at a fast-food restaurant.
If you’re looking to save money, meal planning can help you do that, too! If you’re only buying ingredients you know you’re going to be using for meals, you’ll save money on impulse-purchases and won’t be buying things you don’t need or won’t eat in time before they expire.
How to Meal Plan?
So, how exactly does one meal plan? There are a couple of tips I like to use for meal planning, especially when thinking about what I and my family want to eat for the week.
- Designate a meal-prepping day
- Designate a shopping day
- Check for Coupons
- Decide what meals you’re planning for
- Pick meals for each day
- Make a meal plan
- Make a grocery list
- Invest in good storage containers
Designate a Meal-Prepping Day
The first step in this meal planning process is to designate a meal prepping day. This will help free the rest of your week by not having to go to great lengths to cook each meal every day. If you do meal prep, you’ll just be able to reheat and serve, which, after a long day of work, sounds very appealing!
Designate a Shopping Day
Next, you’re going to want to assign one shopping day per week. It should be a day when you have time to dedicate yourself to picking up all of your ingredients for the full week ahead. Doing this will prevent you from making multiple trips per week to the grocery store and saving you a lot of time.
Check for Coupons
Before you sit down to plan out your meals, it’s smart to look in the food ads for the upcoming week to see what deals are happening on foods at different stores. You can clip coupons of items that sound good to you or that you know you’ll use that week. This can help shape the framework of your grocery list and make it easier to decide what meals to make.
P.S: Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for Sukhi’s meal coupons.
Decide what meals you’re planning for
Once you see what’s on sale, you can decide what meals sound good to you and make sense for you and your family that week. For example, if chicken breast is on sale, you can search for recipes calling for chicken breast. This makes meal planning easy because you’re able to pick out meals for the whole week and you won’t be stuck without lunch one day. If you’re looking for some inspiration for meal planning, you could try looking on Pinterest, Reddit, or any bloggers you might know!
Pick meals for each day
After you’ve picked out your meals for the week, assign them a day or days, depending on how much of one meal you’re making. Creating a menu like this will take the guesswork out of the week and that way, you and your family know what to look forward to throughout the week!
Make a Grocery List
After you’ve chosen your meals, you can move on to making a grocery list. This should be the easy part because you look at each recipe individually and write down the ingredients needed for each one. Make sure to plan for snacks as well! There’s nothing worse than getting home with ingredients for meals only to realize you have nothing to enjoy while you’re cooking them!
Invest in good storage containers
This step is especially important when meal planning. Make sure you’re educating in knowing how long certain foods and meals will last in the refrigerator and if anything needs to be frozen. Investing the right storage containers will keep your ingredients and meals fresh so you don’t have to worry about anything going bad before you have the time to use it. You can see how long your meals will stay fresh with this quick guide!
Choose the Recipes
Choosing recipes for meal planning can seem a little daunting at first, especially if you’ve never done it before. But I promise it gets easier after you’ve done it a couple of times. Here are a couple tips I have for choosing the right recipes for meal planning.
- Think about what sounds good to eat that week, maybe something you haven’t eaten in a while
- Check your calendar and think about what you have going on that week and if you’ll need to take any meals on the go
- Choose meals your whole family will enjoy
- Check your local store ads and see what’s on sale
- Clip any coupons of items that you want to use for the week
- Don’t be afraid of trying new recipes
- If there’s a meal you really enjoy, double the recipe and have it for multiple meals
If you’re still having trouble choosing some recipes for the week, here are a couple of my personal recommendations:
- Chicken Tikka Masala Sliders
- Easy Tandoori Chicken
- Golden Masala Oats
- Indian Breakfast Recipes
- Grilled Naan Pizza
- Masala Fried Chicken
Free Meal Planning Template
Since lists are essential for meal planning, we thought about what would be most helpful to you. We designed a meal planning aid to help you make your meal plan for each week nice and easy. You can download the free template here.
Grocery Shopping Template
Speaking of lists, don’t forget your grocery shopping list! Download this free template to make sure you won’t forget any important items when you’re at the store. Make it easy on yourself!
Meal Plan with Sukhi’s
The whole point of meal planning is to make your life easier! That said, I know that sometimes we just don’t have the time to make healthy meals entirely from scratch. With you in mind, we created a line of curry sauces, pastes, and chutneys to make your life easier. You don’t have to sacrifice healthy meals just because you have a busy lifestyle. With our curries and pastes, you can put real, authentic Indian food on your table while saving precious time.
Here are some of our curries and pastes we offer:
- Tikka Masala Curry Sauce
- Classic Indian Curry Sauce
- Korma Curry Sauce
- Tandoori Marinade
- Coconut Curry Sauce
Are you ready to start meal planning?! Let us know what your favorite recipes or tips are!