Meal planning can be a little stressful. Days more so quickly and there's never enough time in the day to get everything done. I love to plan ahead and get excited about each dinner.
It reminds me of how my mom would write out her shopping list, with the items on sale in one column and the items she needed in another column. On the back of that page, she would write her menu. My mom was an O.G. meal planner. I take meal planning a step further.
Firstly, I have to start by completing a quick inventory. Knowing what I have in my fridge and pantry helps me to not overspend or accidentally buy something twice. What's in my pantry will dictate what I cook throughout the upcoming week.
Search for Meals Ideas
Reviewing my produce, grains, and more starts to inspire my menu ideas. But if it was looking really bare in the kitchen, I would recommend looking at the local ads for meal plans. This way you can stock up on sale items that match your dietary needs. Perhaps canned beans are on sale, this is a great time to A. stock up and B. figure out what to make! Use Pinterest, blogs, YouTube, even magazines for more recipe inspiration.
Create Your Grocery List
Once you have your meals listed out, it's time to comb through and determine the ingredients you need for each recipe. Write down or place in your phone the items you need for each recipe. Carefully comb through your recipes and be sure not to miss anything.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Go to your favorite store and shop. Your list will keep you honest. The key here is to stick to what's on your list. Nothing more... nothing less. That's challenging enough.
Once you have completed your shopping list, you can prep items such as cooking rice, quinoa, or chopping veggies. I like to have my husband write out what he likes to have for dinner.