Looking to waste less produce in your fridge? Need a better way to budget your grocery spending? Or maybe you’re looking for new ways to refresh your dinner routine?

Almost every adult complains about having to choose what to eat for dinner every night, so here are some simple tips to break you out of your food rut and put you in control of your diet.

Meal Prep vs Meal Planning

Meal Planning is simply the act of planning (writing out) your meals before you do your grocery shop. Why? So you don’t buy unnecessary things at the grocery store, and you don’t have to run out while trying to cook dinner because you’re missing an ingredient, (I’m almost always out of butter).

Meal Prepping is when you pre-cook your meals for the week. This can be useful for people with busy office jobs or the perfect way to have an after-work snack ready to go.

How do you plan your meals?

If you’re planning your meals for a few days ahead, ensure that the ingredients in the dish won’t go bad before you cook. Choose meals with more fragilevegetables for the day or two after your shop, and pastas or comfort foods for later in the week.

f you’re meal planning for a small household, think about how to use larger vegetables in more than one meal. A squash can make creamy soup and be roasted with harrissa as a phenomenal salad topper.

Organizing Your Meal Plan

If you don’t have your meal plan written out somewhere that is easy for you to follow, chances are you won’t follow it. Trello, the reminders app, or good old pen and paper are your friends.

By choosing to write out what day you’ll eat your meals, you can help ensure your grocery list is based on the quantities you need. This will save you money in the long term, and also help you experiment with new recipes!

If you’re a visual person, consider hanging your meal plan right on your fridge, or keep a chalkboard in the kitchen so everyone knows what’s up.

Check out my printable meal planning and grocery list for an easy printable way to keep your meals organized.

meal planner and organized grocery list template available on Etsy

Ways to Simplify Meal Planning

When starting your meal plan, make your lunch and breakfast options simple choices, or leftovers. Focus on getting your routine down for making dinners, and add additional meals if you have the time.

You can also plan to make batches of food that freeze well. This will stretch your planning into the next week, and keep your freezer stocked with healthy options for weeks you don’t have time to plan.

Got any helpful hints? drop them in the comments below!