We eat all of the time. Multiple times. Every day. But how many of us have a meal list to remind us what we like to eat and keep us out of a food rut?
Five Reasons to Organize Your Meal Planning
Without some systems around meals, you waste money, time, and food. How?
- It’s hard to eat when your refrigerator is empty or you’re too hungry to cook. You end up eating out or making a last minute run to the grocery store. This takes money, time, and can mean less healthy food. With low blood sugar, you are more likely to make bad food choices and get hangry (hungry + angry)
- Grocery shopping when you’re hungry makes for more impulse buys. Less healthy food and more money.
- Going to the grocery store at peak times takes longer: parking, shopping, and checking out.
- If you don’t have a plan to prepare the food you’ve got in your refrigerator and pantry, food goes bad and has to be thrown out.
- Every time you walk into a messy kitchen or don’t have anything to make or eat, it interrupts the flow of your life and takes your time.
All this to say, getting organized about food is worth doing.
Make a Meal List
The first step in getting organized around food is to know what you like to eat. Start by making a list. Split the list into types of meals i.e. breakfast, lunch, snacks, or types of foods i.e. sandwiches, smoothies, etc. Have everyone in your household add to the list you’ve created. Refer to your meal list when you’re menu planning and grocery shopping.
You can download a copy of a spaceWise Meal Spreadsheet to input your own meal list. If you’re keeping the list online, you can add links to the recipes for meals you’ve included in your list.
Use Themed Meals
To help add meals to your list and mix it up a little, you might think of themed meal ideas. Here’s a list to get you started.
- Bite Sized Dinner
- Breakfast for Dinner
- Casserole Night
- Crock Pot Meal
- Farm to Table
- Finger Foods
- Grill Foods
- International Cuisine – Pick a country and plan a theme
- Kids Cook Night
- Kids Favorite Night
- Make Your Own Pizza Night
- Pasta Night
- Soup & Sandwich Night
- Stir Fry Night
- Taco Bar
- Vegetarian/Vegan Night
For now, work on making your master meal list and having all of your family members add their choices to the list. Then, use your meal list to make your first week’s menu.