For all the reasons why meal planning is actually cool, I just wanted to give five tips about how to survive meal planning for those of us who make meals for one person.
I’ve seen different Pinterest Meal Planning articles about Meal Planning for families, but not many about meal planning for a single person. There’s a difference in shopping, eating, etc. Header photo taken by myself Saturday night. I knew I was going to write on this subject today; I had just finished eating leftovers.
1. Pick a Day That You Can Sit Down And You Know, Plan
A couple of years ago, I came across this Weekly Meal Plan PDF on Pinterest. Shout out to Rosemarie blogger of The Busy Budgeter for creating a wonderful template for planning a weekly meal plan! I usually sit down every Sunday night and plan out my meals for the week. I usually get this done in the Kitchen, because that means I get to “fact check” my refrigerator and pantry for what I need now so I don’t panic later.
I know a lot of meal planning people make all their meals ahead of time, because of how busy their lives are. My life is not so busy, but I do prep some of the vegetables ahead of time so I don’t have to worry about it while I’m making the meal. Depending on how your life is, depends on how you should structure your food planning. You could knock everything out in a matter of a couple of hours on a Sunday or just do it periodically over the week. The choice is yours.
2. Go Grocery Shopping, Duh
This ones the one I am terrible at. For me, I like to do a complete “detox” of my pantry and use everything up and run out of all my food. This means, I get to become creative with the food I have! That’s the plus side of it. The downside, is when you don’t have a certain ingredient to make ____ and you don’t even have the alternate ingredient. For me, I try to avoid the weekends for Grocery Shopping. I like going on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Whenever you can fit it into your schedule, make time for an hour to add it into your schedule.
And speaking of going Grocery Shopping…
3. You Just Made The List
And, yes- for all of those people who watching wrestling like me, I did in fact make a Chris Jericho reference above. You know what happens when you go grocery shopping and then you forget something? It’s because you forgot your list! Or, when you bought “extra stuff” because you didn’t stick to your list. I actually organize my list now in order from “definitely need” at the top to “not so much” at the bottom when I write it out on my grocery list pad. It stays on my fridge until I need it.
Here is a link (I found it on Pinterest; I can’t find the original posted source) of a Master Grocery List to start with. In 2014 this was similar to the list I used when shopping.
It can save you money (and your sanity) to bring a grocery list with you. It reminds you of the recipes you are actually going to make.
Wants and needs, wants and needs.
I use to go out-to-eat three to four times a week. I now go out to eat about every two weeks. Meal planning got me to condense how much money and time I was spending going out to eat; alone and with friends. It is okay to turn down dinner with friends. Why not try inviting them over to your house for dinner instead, or see if you can go over to their place (bonus points if you still bring over dinner).
Hot Take: Yes, you can totally go out to eat alone if you feel like it. I’ve done it once or twice. Try that new restaurant or that new recipe. Or how about both!
5. Leftovers Can Be Fun
This is where cooking can be a creative, fun adventure. Sometimes, I’ll make certain meals in a larger bulk than they are made to be. For example, pasta, my to-go to favorite. Because I’m usually the only one eating what I cook, it’s always leftovers for lunch or dinner later in the week. Saves me money, and time for not having to cook later!
Saturday and Sunday meals are usually spiced up meals for me. Yesterday I had the last of the rice (I’m now out of rice) spiced with melted butter and parsley leaves. I actually still have pasta leftover from Wednesday this past week. When I was meal planning last night I realized I could use it in my dinner for tonight. Win! I’m looking forward to toasting some homemade bread with my pasta. Yum!
Thank you for reading another short Monday blurb on food! Have you done any meal planning for yourself? What are some setbacks you’ve had with meal planning?
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