How to Meal Plan: Top 10 Helpful Tips You Should Know

By 1TidBit  Published 24th May, 2022

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If you have never created a meal plan or are getting back into it after a long hiatus, it may feel a bit daunting. Developing a meal planning habit is no different than making any other positive change in your life. Starting small and slowly building confidence is a great way to make sure your new habit is sustainable.

1. Start small

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Whether you’re preparing meals for a week, month, or just a few days, it’s important to make sure each food group is represented in your plan. such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, high-quality protein, and healthy fats, 

2. Consider each food group

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An organized kitchen, pantry, and refrigerator make everything from menu creation, grocery shopping, and meal prep a breeze, as you’ll know exactly what you have on hand and where your tools and ingredients are.

3. Get organized

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Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, oats, bulgur Legumes: canned or dried, black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, lentils Canned goods: low-sodium broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, fruit (no added sugar), tuna, salmon, chicken Oils: olive, avocado,coconut Other: Almond butter, peanut butter, potatoes, mixed nuts, dried fruit

4. Keep a well-stocked pantry

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Herbs and spices can make the difference between a meal that’s amazing and one that’s just alright. For most people, a meal plan that’s consistently comprised of delicious dishes just might be enough to make the meal planning habit stick.

5. Keep a variety of spices on hand

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Peruse all of your food storage areas, including your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator, and make a note of any specific foods you want or need to use up.

6. Shop your pantry first

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It can be frustrating to forget a recipe that you or your family really enjoyed. Or worse — forgetting how much you disliked a recipe, only to make it again and have to suffer through it a second time.

7. Track and record your favorite meals

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Don’t go to the grocery store when you’re hungry, as doing so can increase the risk of impulse buys that you’re likely to regret later. If you feel a little twinge of hunger before you’re heading to the store, don’t hesitate to have a snack first.

8. Avoid shopping while you’re hungry

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Take advantage of the bulk section of your local supermarket as a way to save money, buy only the amount you need, and reduce unnecessary packaging waste. This part of the store is a great place to shop for pantry staples like rice, cereal, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit and beans.

9. Buy in bulk

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You’re more likely to stick to your new meal planning habit if it’s something you enjoy doing. Instead of thinking of it as something you have to do, try to mentally reframe it as a form of self-care. 

10. Make it enjoyable 

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