Make This The Year You Actually Master Meal Planning

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It’s a new year! Time to dive headfirst into our new resolutions. If meal planning is on your list, here are a few tips to actually make it happen.

How to Master Meal Planning

Here are seven tips to help you add this to your routine with no problem.

Start by drafting out the menu by the month. Then finalize each week.

Laying it out by the month allows you to plug in the month’s events. Perhaps you know you have one week of work and school that will be really overwhelming, proceeded by a weekend with not much going on. This helps you realize you could spend that first weekend stocking the freezer with prepared meals from the store or your own kitchen. Also, this probably helps to make the most of a Costco or Sam’s Club run.

From there, pick one day each week to come back to your calendar. Fill in the blanks, make your grocery list, and prep what you can in one fell swoop.

Pick one new recipe per week.

One of the best things about meal planning is the opportunity to try new recipes. But don’t let this overwhelm you! Pick one new recipe per week as your gamble.

Then layout your favorites.

If you know Taco Tuesday is always a hit, then get that on the list, girlfriend! Seriously, dinner planning these days is 50% food-based and 50% what won’t come with a side of arguments from the peanut gallery. Do what works for your house!

Count on leftovers.

When you’re laying out the menus, don’t make a meal every night. You’re bound to have at least one night of straight-up microwaved leftovers. You can dress them up or change them slightly. (Fajita fixings become a great salad on night two, and try putting a really thick spaghetti sauce from last night on a bun and call it sloppy joes tonight. It’s pretty much the same thing, right?)

Stock the pantry with staples for the nights you don’t want to do anything.

Sometimes the best-laid plans go by the wayside when life gets in the way. No problem! Keep a list of your favorite packaged or quick fix meals, and make sure to always have those ingredients on hand. This is where that monthly Costco run comes in handy.

Keep a list of favorite takeout places when you REALLY don’t want to do anything.

Are you a carrot or a stick kind of gal? Either way, know that a night out will probably be on the menu at least a couple of times each month. Those nights off are just the reward or push you need after doing all this legwork.

Don’t want to do any of this? Let someone else do the work.

The folks at The Real Good Life would be happy to do all of the work for you! All you have to do is decide what sounds good. Check out the menu and have ready to heat meals delivered right to your door on Sunday or Wednesday nights. Your kids will love the food, and your spouse will love the lack of dishes to clean. You’ll love the extra time. Everyone wins!

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