Do you love eating but hate planning your meals? You’re not alone. Whether you have a family to feed or you live alone but still want to enjoy delicious and nutritious meals each day, meal planning can feel like an overwhelming task. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
There are many simple meal prep ideas to make your lunches and dinners easier. Some tricks include keeping your pantry and fridge well-stocked or getting a few of your meals delivered. It’s time to learn how to simplify meal planning. Here are seven meal prep ideas for lunches and dinners:
1. Use your current ingredients to make simple meals
You want to simplify your meal prep ideas. Rushing to the grocery store a few times a week because you don’t have an ingredient needed for a recipe is not what simplicity is all about.
To make things more simple, you should take a moment, once a week, to look at what you have in your pantry, in your fridge, and your freezer. If you also take a moment each week to plan the recipes you will cook in the upcoming days, it becomes much easier to make sure you have everything you will need or buy it in one single trip.
You should also keep your home well stocked with the basics to help ensure you will never run out of an important ingredient while preparing a recipe.
2. Get all your recipes from the same source
Although it’s possible to find countless great recipes online or in your collection of cookbooks, choosing one cookbook each week can simplify the process of planning your meals.
Since all the recipes presented in the same cookbook will be written in the same format, it will be easier to follow the instructions, even if you are in a hurry.
Plus, try to pick simple recipes, either because they don’t require a lot of ingredients or can be prepared in one pot.
3. Use delivery services for your meals
Even if you love cooking and prepping many of your ingredients in advance, you might not always have the time or the energy to cook meals every single day of the week. The solution is simple: don’t cook every one of your meals.
You can eat out or rely on delivery at least once a week, which will simplify your meal planning task. Prepared meal delivery services, for example, allow you to order delicious meals in advance, to get them delivered to your home, and to eat them whenever you don’t want to prepare something yourself.
This option is also ideal if you simply don’t enjoy cooking elaborate and nutritious meals but want to enjoy them from time to time.
4. Make a list of your favourite recipes
Speaking of recipes, you should make a list of your favourite ones. If you have kids and a partner, ask them which meals are their favourites, and don’t forget to add your favourites to the list! If you live alone, write down the recipes you love preparing and love eating.
Whenever you don’t have a lot of time picking a recipe, you regularly go back instead of trying to master a new one will simplify meal planning. Plus, everyone in your household will be happy!
5. Assign a theme for each dinner of the week
An easy way to simplify meal planning is to keep breakfast and lunch simple but get more creative when preparing dinner.
For example, you can eat cereals or oatmeal for breakfast and reheat yesterday’s leftovers for lunch. Then, you can prepare a great dinner recipe.
To make meal planning more fun, you could assign a theme for each dinner of the week. You can go for trendy themes like Meatless Monday and Taco Tuesday or develop your themes.
When you know that Wednesday is Pasta day and Thursday is Pizza night, choosing your recipes is easy.
6. Write down your meal plan on your calendar
Where is your meal plan? Does it exist only in your head, or do you write it down on your calendar or in your day planner?
Writing it down on paper will help you and your family remember it, especially with different thematic suppers. It will also allow you to focus your brainpower on other things.
7. Prep some ingredients in advance
On the same day, you pick your recipes for the week and make sure you have all the ingredients you need. You could take an hour or two to prep some ingredients.
You could, for example, chop a lot of veggies, roast a chicken, or prepare a large batch of pasta or rice, depending on the recipes you have chosen. Then, when it’s time to prepare a meal, your workload will be reduced as some of your ingredients will be ready when you are.