A few years ago I read an article about meal planning. I have to be honest, when I first read the article my first thought was “why would anyone do that”. Well as the years went on, and my kids got older it started looking like a good idea. See I have three boys that play sports. So as you can imagine my life can be a bit busy. I have also put on weight mostly due to eating lots of fast food and pizza. Now I know you are probably asking what having kids and gaining weight have to do with meal planning. Between work, helping the kids with school work, and runing the kids too and from after school activities I was not eating until late if I cooked, or I was just grabbing fast food. Meal planning has helped me stick to a diet, make sure my kids eat healthy, and reduse stress by helping me manage my time better. It also fits in to my time management process. Now that you see where I am going with this article lets take a look at how I do it.
I have tried makeing lists using paper, and several note taking apps. I have downloaded templates for Microsoft OneNote but none of then work for me. The main issue was getting home to find out I did not have everything I needed to make the meal I was planning on making. Another issue was getting to the store to buy groceries and not remember my list or what I needed to buy to make the meals I want to make for the week. What is really needed to properly do meal planning is a goot app. The app needs to have more then a calendar that lists the meals you want to make on a day. The app should hold recipes, a shopping list, and have some kind of pantry function. I have tried several over the last year and finally settled on Paprika. This app meets all my requirements. It also has a Mac, IOS, and a Windows app. Parika has a decent pantry function that will keep track of what I have on hand so that I can add only what is needed to the grocery list portion of the app. I can download recipes from several websites and add a recipe directly on to meal calendar while adding the ingredients to the built in shopping list. Haveing a good meal planning app is a big part, but it is only one part of the process. You can plan meals all you want but when you have limited time you may find yourself resorting to old habits(I know I did at first). The key is to prep a head of time. I tipically plan out the weeks meals on Saturday mornings and then go shopping. On Sunday’s I prepare what I can a head of time. I cut vegetables and marinade any meat. If i am makeing a caserol or going to be using the crockpot I put it all together. Several meals (soups, some breakfast items)can be fully made and frozen, then heated up on the day you plan to serve it.
Have you tried meal planning? Do you use a different app, or do you implement it different? I would love to hear about it below in the comments.