The Art Of Simplifying The Meal Planning Process
Meal planning is indeed an art, a creative expression. It shouldn’t be a laborious task. The idea is to make your processes and systems a little bit easier in order to in essence ‘buy back’ time with your family and friends. This creates less stress, less tension and enabling you live a more balanced in life.
Internally you are creating a safe emotional space where you are able to think clearly, and plan out your life with more clarity.
Meal planning is a part of life, not something to do once in awhile. It is to be part of your to-do list, your priority.
With a few simple steps, I will coach you on How to Simplify Your Meal Planning.
These steps will not only help you save time and money, you will also have a positive and freeing experience as you embrace your new lifestyle.
How To Simplify Meal Planning
1| Make A Conscious Choice To Plan Your Meals.
If you don't plan out your meals you will easily set yourself up for overspending, eating out, or eating foods that do not properly nourish your body. You have to mentally prepare yourself. This includes taking control of your nutritious habits. Once you have done this, then you need to get on a budget!
2| Set A Budget.
Yes, make a budget and make it count! You may be wondering, “Why should I be on a budget?’ As a minimalist you should already be in ‘elimination mode’, so eliminating unnecessary expenses is one of the things you MUST do. When you are on a budget you can see your ‘money flow’.
With a budget you will see how much income is flowing in and how much income is flowing out. And figure out how much you are going to spend on your meals.
If you are unsure how much you should budget for your meals, take a look at your transactions online from your debit card or receipts from cash purchases. If your spending is inconsistent and it fluctuates greatly, take the average over the course of three months and start from there. The key word is to start. Your next step is to determine how often you are going to go grocery shopping.
3| Determine The Frequency Of Your Shopping.
The frequency of your shopping depends on when you are paid and your work schedule. Entrepreneurs should have more flexibility, but sometimes it depends on the flow of your income.
Whether you plan your shopping for weekly, biweekly, or monthly, there are pros and cons to each trip that can add value or pose as a stressor on your entire experience.
Personally, I’ve found that biweekly trips save time, money, and gas since you go grocery shopping twice a month.
During the planning stage be sure to factor in the possibility of eating out with friends, an unexpected salad on the run or not having an appetite for what you originally planned to eat. These factors will affect how often you are out of the house grocery shopping or indulging on something else (that’s healthy I might add).
4| Create A Shopping List & Route.
You are now ready to go shopping for those items, planning the route is key to saving time. Check your pantries, cabinets, and refrigerator to see if any of the items you need for the meals are already on hand. Putting items into categories will save time and decrease the likelihood that you will purchase something that you already have on your list.
Next, add the store location beside each item you will purchase from that particular store and plan out your route accordingly. Just a tip, go to your favorite store last. This way if you are tempted to impulse buy, you won’t have enough money left to do so. If you shop online, make sure you work that into your list as well.
5| Start The Meal Prep Process.
Now that you have your needed food items based on your meal planning list here’s what to do next:
- Post your meal list for easy visibility throughout the week
- Wash, cut and store away your veggies in a Ziploc bag or eco-friendly container of your choice.
- Clean and prep your meats and put it in a Ziploc bag or eco-friendly container of your choice.
- If you are a smoothie lovers, fix up smoothie bags for the freezer for quick access and a quick add of protein powder for blending.
- Bag up any crock pot ingredients
If you have children get them to help or assign the above tasks for them to complete.
Finally, have fun and be creative throughout your meal planning process each week. This entire process should flow perfectly with your adjustment to minimalism. You are making a conscious decision to take control of your life by making meal planning a priority, starting a budget, and figuring out when best to shop.
Making a list of meals and the ingredients, along with a plan of which stores to shop on your route decreases impulse purchases.
Starting the meal prepping processsaves you time over the course of the week and pulls out that creative energy within.
Categorizing your refrigerator and cabinets similar to your shopping list will make it easier to find those food items and add a bit of feng shui where everything is flowing beautifully with less stress, and less clutter.
Now you are equipped with the tools needed for The Art of Simplifying Your Meal Planning.
Hicunni Chandler is a Certified Eating Psychology Coach & Food Strategist with about a decade of experience in assisting with dietary restrictions and holistic living. Hicunni helps women get to the root cause of weight gain, body discomfort, and other eating challenges; so they can start loving themselves, enjoying life, and transforming their relationship with food. Hicunni loves educating and empowering people to find their healthy lifestyle.