The healthy,planning, money-saving part of me has been a fan of meal planning for quite awhile. The idea of having this perfect schedule, staying on track, and making healthy (let’s be real though, not all meals are going to be healthy) every night sounds pretty appealing, right? I thought so.
To be honest,I was all over the place when it came to meal planning in the past. I would go weeks feeling on top of my meal planning game, and the healthy meals just would never stop. Then weeks would come where either I did not meal plan at all, or the whole thing just went out the window and we would eat out every single night (exaggeration, but sometimes it did not feel like one).
I would make my meal plans according to each specific night. For example: Monday would be chicken and veggies, Tuesday would be taco Tuesday, and so on. Suddenly, with it written down on paper, my meal plans would become this tight schedule that had to happen that way/that night, or no way/no night at all. Sometimes this would work. But let’s get real, life happens. Not every meal is always going to happen on it’s given night, it’s just not.
About a month ago this revelation came to me that I was looking at meal planning all wrong. It really does not need to be this all or nothing type of thing.
The way I meal plan now is a bit more flexible. I pick 4-5 meals for the week, and write them down. One of the most important parts is then to get them approved by my boyfriend, even though I have the final say. The grocery list is then written up and the supplies are all bought. Each night I make something from the list, whatever sounds good that night. It then gets crossed off of the list. This trend continues until all the meals are gone. At this point, either we have leftover night, make random meals with extra supplies in the fridge, or have the occasional dinner out. Then it all starts over the next week. If for whatever reason, a meal did not get crossed off the list, it finds its’ way to the next list. That’s all there is to it. I know, life changing, right?
Another tip/trick I’ve let myself adapt to is that not all of my meals need to be fancy and new. It is so fun to try new recipes, whether from my cookbooks, Pinterest, blogs, etc. I like to throw recipes like that in to the meal plan every once in awhile. However, the whole meal plan for the week does not need to be full of all of that. Super simple, no fuss meals are great too.
Bottom line, meal planning does not have to be strict. For some people, it totally might be. For you, the flexible route might work better. Let meal planning work for you and make your life easier, after all, that is kind of the point.