You and I are in the same stage, I have never meal planned before and now all of a sudden I am faced with it as a necessity as I have a teeny weeny fridge and no microwave, so I HAVE to eat fresh non-processed foods that I cooked that day, that's all that's available to me. :)
Anyway, what I did was I plopped down with a spreadsheet open in front of me and planned out my week's meals along with what I need to buy from the grocery fresh each night. I have only done it one week so far, but it seems to be working.
But a tip that I learned back when I DID have a microwave was to batch cook three or four meals and sides when I had time and then put a serving of each into a lunch container and then stick it in the fridge to heat up later. It worked really well. You just grab an already prepared lunch and heat it up and are ready to go.
I'm trying to become more organized when it comes to my food, and I thought it might benefit me to start making weekly meal plans.
I'm just not sure how to really go about doing them. I don't always have a set schedule. Typically, when I go out to eat, I don't have much notice.
Lunch on MOST weekdays will be leftovers from dinner the night before- at least as the base.
I do know that Tuesday nights, I have something planned where I do eat out, and I have church Wednesday nights. If I go out for dinner after church, I'll get home closer to 11. If I go home, I still won't have dinner before 9:30-10 on a good night.
I've already come up with a plan for Wednesdays. Before work, I'll start the crock-pot. That way, I'll have dinner ready for me when I get home (with possible minor prep-work involved,like if I decide to have a salad, etc) if I don't eat dinner out. And, even if I do eat dinner out, I can pack a serving of the crock-pot meal for lunch.
With dinner Tuesday being a meal out, I will most likely have a quick and easy soup/salad/sandwich type lunch on Wednesdays. However, I am also looking at overcooking on some occasions just to have extra leftovers. That way, if I'm too tired to even consider cooking one night- or if I go out to eat- I'll have a go-to option (especially for lunch, which is usually leftovers). I want to have a list of quick and easy emergency meals to fall back on just in case.
So, how do you begin meal planning? I definitely want to be somewhat flexible as my schedule is usually flexible, but I'm sick of scrambling around in the evening to come up with ideas for dinner.
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