There are a few common meal planning mistakes that people make because, let's face it, the entire process is exhausting. Whether you are meal planning each week or arriving at the fridge last minute to decide on supper, you're bound to hit a point of frustration. We make over 250 decisions each day around food, so the more organized we can be for our meal, the less we have to decide come time to actually put food in our mouths.
Rather than heading down the path of frustration and despair, there are things that you can do to simplify it all. Let's change your meal planning mistakes into simple solutions to save you time, money, and your sanity.
❌ Not planning your meals out for the week ahead.
Planning out your meals for the week is the best way to have the right groceries in the house to make food. It also saves you time and money because you are only buying what you need and not picking up extras that may go to waste.
✅ Start making a meal plan and build your grocery list based off of your plan.
❌ Going to the grocery store without a grocery list.
Buying random food with the intention to make something random later in the week can leave you with food left to rot at the bottom of your fridge.
✅ Use your meal plan to create a grocery list of only the things that you really need.
❌ Only buying enough groceries for half the week.
Those who try to only go once per week and only plan out enough groceries for Monday to Thursday end up having no plan on the weekend. Typically we see less structured eating, more eating out and more grazing habits. If you like to go to the grocery store more than once a week, that's fine.
✅ If you're shopping once a week, get everything at the same time. If you like to pick up a few times a week, just make sure you're getting what you need for the days ahead before your next shopping trip.
❌ Choosing multiple new recipes per week.
While adding new recipes and food is fun and exciting, having too many new recipes or foods can become overwhelming, leading to wasting food.
✅ Choose only one new recipe per week and mix in your family's favourites for a good balance of traditional recipes and fresh new flavours.
❌ Not keeping a running list of your family's favourite meals.
Every family has those easy and well-known recipes that everyone loves. These recipes make planning a breeze because we're familiar with the ingredients and know the prep time needed.
✅ Keep a list of your family's favourite meals posted on the fridge or in the pantry. This is an easy way to keep track of meal ideas without remembering them each time we make a meal plan.
These simple and easy to implement solutions can help you reduce the time you spend each week on meal planning. Once you have the process dialled in and working for you, typically, your weekly meal planning time should only take about 15-30 minutes. That time is so well spent because when the week gets busy, and the family gets hungry, you'll know exactly what the next mealtime is!!
Our online resources have great tools for organizing your weekly meal planning so you can avoid some of these mistakes. We've just added in a Meal Ideas Worksheet to keep track of all of your family favourites.
Download now and start listing your family's mealtime fave's now!