Are you struggling to get into meal planning because you don’t feel organized?
Part of what makes it easier to fall into a new routine is having a set way of doing things… one where you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time!
And when you’re organized and know what to do, then it makes it easier to continue meal planning. You are literally setting up yourself for success!
Here are some of my favorite tips to get organized for meal planning.
1. Make a list of meals you can cook.
Make a list of things you can cook easily that your family loves. These are the successful meals that are tried and true and that you know your family will eat!
These will be your go-to meals when you don’t want to think of new meals or don’t have a lot of time. Refer to them when meal planning.
2. Keep favorite recipes together in one place.
in this day and age, we get recipes left and right from magazines like Real Simple, Pinterest, Facebook, and on food blogs. It’s a challenge to keep track of them all.
So do yourself a favor – print them out and keep them together in a binder or folder, whichever is easier for you.
3. Set aside a regular time to meal plan and grocery shop.
Schedule a regular time to meal plan and grocery shop. You can meal plan during your work commute on the train or shuttle or after the kids go to asleep on Friday nights. And then go grocery shopping early Saturday morning.
For me, I like to meal plan when my husband is watching both the kids and then I go grocery shopping on weekday mornings after school drop off. I like to avoid the crowds.
4. Post your grocery list and meal plan on the fridge.
It’s so much easier to add to your grocery list when it’s sitting there, right in front of you, on the fridge. Whenever you run out of something, add it to your list.
Your kids can help too. When you have a filled-in All Out Of list (pictured above), they can simply check the item on list. Then when you go grocery shopping, they can cross the item off the list.
5. Take a quick picture of your grocery list.
This is one of my favorite tips that I have learned from trial and error. I like writing things down on a grocery list on paper vs. making a list on my phone. But often, I will conveniently leave this list at home!
So as insurance, I always take a picture of my grocery list, just in case I forget it at home. This has saved me so many times!
6. Keep track of what’s in your pantry and fridge.
Users of MEAL PLANNING MADE EASY, my meal planning guide and printables, have told me that they love the Pantry and Fridge Inventory printables.
Isn’t easy to lose track of what’s in your pantry? And then you go shopping and end up buying items you already have in your pantry!
When you keep track of what you have, then you can use it up and avoid overbuying… and save money!
This gets a little tougher when you have a second fridge in the garage or deep freezer for those Costco purchases. Keep track of what’s stored there and leave the list in the kitchen so you don’t have to run back and forth.
7. Clean out the fridge once a week.
When we get busy and forget to clean out the fridge, rotting produce and old leftovers tend to pile up, leaving no room for new purchases. Am I right?
Make time, even 5 minutes, to clear out the old stuff and you’ll be in much better shape.
8. Purge the pantry and freezer regularly.
Do you have cobwebs forming in your pantry? *Raises hand* Well, that’s a clear sign that it’s time to purge expired items and food you’ll never eat, even if you had good intentions when you bought them.
Keep like items together, like baking supplies, spices, and grains. And use up the food that will be expiring soon!
How do you get organized for meal planning?