Meal planning can feel like a chore, but the alternative is too much take-out – or, even worse, cereal for dinner. Whether you’re cooking for yourself, you and a partner or your whole family (including possibly picky kids), having a plan can save you time, money and headaches at the end of a long day. There are just a few simple steps to help you make sure everybody’s happy and well fed.
Use Post-it® Flags or Tabs to mark recipes and dinner ideas that sound good to whoever you’re feeding. If your cookbooks aren’t calling to you, try online, where thousands of recipes and meal plans are waiting to be found.
Figure out which meal works best for which day, taking care to separate things that are too much alike (spaghetti and lasagna probably shouldn’t go right after each other, for example), and keep the meals that take the most work on the days when you’ve got the most time. (The Post-it® Super Sticky List Note is the perfect tool for a menu and the list you’ll be writing in the next step – after all, that’s what we designed it for.)
Now check out your recipes and take stock of the ingredients you’re going to need. One of the easiest ways to write a grocery list that will serve you well is by dividing it into sections of the store, and listing items in the order you find them on the shelves. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but the closer they are to each other, the faster your trip will be. (Label sections and list items on our Planner, then tear off your list and take it with you to the store - or, just jot down your stuff on a Post-it® Super Sticky List and bring it with you.)
When you’re really organized, your shopping trip will go a lot faster. Always remember to double-check your list at the register to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
Now that everything’s planned out, hopefully you’ll have more time at the end of the day for the things you really want to do. Whether that means kicking back and relaxing or spending time with people you love, it’s the most important part of why you’ve planned your meals in the first place.