Who doesn't enjoy sitting down to a home cooked meal after a long day at work or playing with the kids? But, planning and preparing meals can feel overwhelming at times, and trying to throw a meal together at the last minute is rarely an easy task.
We at Whimsicals Paperie use our very own menu planning and grocery list notepads to help keep us organized, and wanted to share our individual processes with you. This blog will be in two parts, this first one written by Martha, our assistant, with Part 2 written by Sarah, the creator of Whimsicals Paperie. We will each share how we plan, organize and shop with hopes that it will give you new ideas and help in your own meal planning and prep.
5 Simple Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping Tips
Here is one way to simplify and organize that works well for me (Martha):
- Pull out the calendar. I don't know how many times I have planned out my week of meals and created my grocery list only to realize my evening engagements interfered, or I forgot to include a meal I planned to bring a friend.
- The freezer. If you are fortunate enough to have a good size freezer with extra meals or meat in it, check the freezer next. I try to pull one or two meals each week from the freezer.
- Check the ads. Pork tenderloins buy 1 get 1 free? Super. I'll put one on the menu and put the extra in my freezer. I try to make enough to add to the freezer with at least one meal each week.
- Start your menu. With the ads in front of me, and knowing what is on my calendar, I snag my menu and start planning meals for each day of the week. I include side dishes based on what is on sale, and check to see what I already have in my pantry for the rest.
- The grocery list. I love this part. It's where it all comes together, and I know if I make a thorough list based on the menu I just made, I'll have everything I need for my meals this week. The Whimsicals Paperie Large Grocery List Notepad makes this easier by being sorted by sections of the store. That means as I go through each meal, adding what I need to list for both the main dish and the sides, it stays organized--making my trip in the store quicker and more efficient.
It might sound tedious, and this is only one of many ways to meal plan, but this is one way to get your meal on the table with minimal last-minute stress. The whole process, from checking my calendar to having a completed grocery list, takes around 15 minutes. I suspect it took a bit longer at the beginning, but now that it is simply part of my rhythm, it is a snappy, stress-free process.
We would love to learn from you! Share your favorite tips for meal planning, or drop in one of your go-to recipes in the comments, then head over to read Part 2.
Martha is a writer and editor with Whimsicals Paperie. She is a Colorado native who enjoys snowy trail runs, camping in the Rockies, and a nice glass of red wine paired with a good friend and some dark chocolate. She has the privilege of living life alongside her adventurous husband, vivacious son, and a passionate toddler daughter -- each of whom make her life infinitely more beautiful.