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Six Steps to Meal Planning
Kris Boulton Phone: (501) 303-5672Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Connect with Saline County FCS agent Kris Boulton.
We hear a lot about healthy eating, making foods at home, eating as a family. But
if it's something you're not used to. How do you get started? Like many things, you
start with the planning. It's not as hard as it seems. It really does take just a
little bit of prep and planning. I'm going to provide you six tips today that will
give you the tools you need to do exactly that. And remember, if your family's helping
you, they're more likely to suggest recipes they like and more likely to eat what
they've helped prepare.
Meal planning doesn't have to be boring. You can be creative, and you can show your
creativity in your meal prep. Most of us only have about ten or twelve recipes that
we really make on a regular basis. Maybe you want to plan out those few recipes, but
maybe you also want to research and find some new ones. Think about your family schedule
for the next week. How many people will you need to cook for? How much time will you
have to prepare meals? Is there special equipment or recipes that you'll need to use
this week? Note all of this on your plan.
Check the refrigerator, freezer, and shelves in the pantry for the main ingredients
and other things that need to be used up. Write these under “On Hand” on your list.
With your families likes and dislikes in mind, think about ways you can use these
foods for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner as you assign the on-hand items to
meals or snacks. Cross them off your list of on hand. Do you need to buy any other
items to complete the meal? If so, put those items on your grocery list.
At our house, my husband doesn't cook. We've made the arrangement that if I cook,
he cleans up, which is a great arrangement to have it any home. He also loves to clip
coupons and he loves to save at the grocery store. He loves to get the specials and
the ads and combine that for the least amount of money that will be spent on our groceries
each week. If you don't get the grocery ads through the mail, you can usually download
them from the store's Web site or app as you spot items that are on sale. Make note
of the ones you're interested in, and are on sale, on your planning list, then work
them into your menus for the week.
Aim to have something from each of the food groups in most of your meals. This is
the simplest way to make sure your meals are healthy. It's also a smart idea to plan
for leftovers. For example, if you're making a big pot of spaghetti on Monday, work
it into your meal plan later in the week to make sure it doesn't go to waste.
It's perfectly fine to use your food dollars as you need each week. If you happen
to find yourself under your budget, and there are good specials on items your family
uses regularly, try to stock up. If you stick to this method, these bargains will
be put to good use before you know it.
Get more Information on Meal Planning.