Last Updated on by Bree
Ever thought of meal planning tips that can make your kitchen life easier?
Whether you live on a budget or not, planning meals ahead save you lots of time and money.
Also, it means you can eat delicious home-cooked meals you made yourself without the high sodium found in fast foods.
Growing up in a home where cooking big pots of food every day was routine, I learned how to make food in batches and also save some for later.
As a result of that experience, planning big meals or fixing quick ones is a breeze to me.
*not to toot my own horn*
So if your heart skips a beat at the thought of meal planning, don’t worry, I got you.
Continue reading for 9 unusual meal planning tips to simplify your kitchen life.
Meal Planning Tips To Make Your Life Easier
1. Use a meal planner
Honestly, I don’t use and have never used a meal planner in my life. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that it is an essential meal planning tool for lots of people.
Some planners have slots for both recipes and grocery shopping lists, which aims to simplify meal planning for you.
So if you believe it would make your life easier, then go ahead and utilize it.
Also, with meal planners, you can insert recipes for weeks without repeating the same meals for a while.
Make sure to grab your free meal planners and shopping lists with the form below or visit the Free Resources Library.
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2. Make a shopping list
Now you are aware of the recipes to make for the week.
The next thing is to make a grocery shopping list.
Having a shopping list is very important for efficient meal planning because it ensures that you get the right ingredients for your cooking.
Nowadays, with technology, you can create shopping lists without lifting a finger using apps like Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, etc.
These helpful tech assistants can record every item for you. And all you need to do is shop away.
Another tip is to stick a notepad on your fridge to list stuff as they run out.
Now you have both digital and physical grocery lists you can use anywhere.
Then take it to the store or read it to Alexa.
3. Always stock up on essential ingredients
Whether you cook regularly or infrequently, there are certain ingredients you always have in your kitchen.
And they vary from person to person because we all love different foods.
For me, they are onions, pepper, garlic, seasoning, salt, and vegetable oil.
These ingredients are present in most of my cooking, so I can’t afford to run out on them.
So whatever your cooking essentials are, make sure they are regularly available in your pantry.
By so doing, fixing quick meals would be easier.
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4. Know the amount of food you plan to make
Knowing what to cook and the quantity makes cooking more straightforward.
And don’t forget to prepare your casserole dishes and baking pans too.
Furthermore, organize the meals according to the cooking method. That is oven meals, crockpot, stovetop, etc.
When I plan like this, I start with the oven meals; and then concentrate on the stovetop ones.
So you’d be killing two birds with one stone.
Remember to use a kitchen timer, so you don’t forget stuff in the oven.
Let’s keep moving…
5. Prep your ingredients
Sometimes when I get home from the grocery store, I immediately cut up and portion my meats.
Each part goes into individual bags for different recipes, etc.
Some may be marinated right away, cooked immediately, or frozen.
Other forms of ingredients prepping can be chopping vegetables, blending tomatoes, grating cheese, etc.
Just a tip: meal prep time is when you should measure or portion ingredients for specific recipes. That is if you usually follow cookbook recipes to the T.
Even if you don’t cook with recipe books, portioning main ingredients like meats makes cooking more convenient.
Imagine having to defrost a 10lb bag of chicken before cooking. It definitely takes longer compared to defrosting a few pieces in a baggy.
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6. Choose a day to prepare several dishes
Since your ingredients are already prepped, picking a day to cook is the next thing to plan. Because I’m home most days, I can cook any day of the week.
But for sure, your schedule may be different.
So choose a day when you have no other commitments, and dedicate it to cooking.
You don’t want to do all that work when you are pressed for time or have several appointments.
Then give yourself time to rest. You deserve it.
On to the next point…
7. Portion meals 2 servings per bowl
Raise your hand if you detest thawing an enormous bowl of food every time you need just a serving.
Me: *raises hand*
Asides from the inconvenience of defrosting large portions of food, your meals can lose flavor due to thawing and freezing all over again.
But you can avoid that by portioning your meals two servings per bowl. And when you are hungry, you can effortlessly get the quantity you need.
Storing prepared meals this way ensures that your foods stay fresh and intact always.
Additionally, small servings in containers make it easier for a family to have dinner and eat different foods.
8. Don’t out-cook yourself
Simply because you dedicate a day to cook does not mean you must prepare all the recipes on your meal planner.
Instead, look at what your family enjoys eating, also how much they eat, then plan accordingly.
Moreover, you can easily forget certain foods in the freezer or lose interest in them completely.
And that’s when you find yourself tossing food in the disposal, which equates to wasting your money.
So don’t out-cook yourself.
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9. Use leftovers for new meals
The next tip for efficient meal planning is to improvise with leftovers.
For example, leftover meat can be added to a vegetable stir-fry or quick pasta.
I usually use leftover pepper stew for jollof rice, pasta, and even black-eyed peas.
Just play with it, mix up ingredients, but always taste for salt before adding more when cooking with leftovers.
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Boom! Tips For Meal Planning You’d Wish You Knew
There you go! 9 smart meal planning tips to save time and help you win in the kitchen.
Remember, you can still plan efficiently with or without a meal planner. And don’t cook yourself away.
Just do what you can. Once you get the hang of it, planning bigger batches of meals becomes easier.
I hope these tips and tricks change your meal planning game and save you bucks.
Did you enjoy this post? Let me know in the comments.
And remember to share it. It would mean the world to me.
Now, over to you, what meal planning tips have you tried? Please share them with us.
Thanks for reading.