Growing up, my parents never had a set meal plan. They just kind of decided what they would cook as the time came. Of course, being “real” adults (and geniuses), they always had all the ingredients in stock. You know, the weird stuff that recipes seem to need that you don’t have but feel you should? For me, it’s the spices. I never have the spices.
Anyway. For the first four years of my University career, I stubbornly refused to meal plan. I mean, seriously, who are these people who are nerdy enough to make a meal plan? Doesn’t anyone believe in spontaneity anymore? Look how well that worked for me! I lived off pizza, KD and fast food for the better part of two years! (Needless to say, I was very healthy and didn’t gain any freshman weight at all… NOT!) But recently I’ve become nerdily obsessed with organization blogs and with exercise and healthy eating, so it was the perfect storm of things to force me into the long-dreaded meal planning.
So here’s a link to the meal planner I use at Project Girl (suitable for men as well, of course). Basically, I plan out what I’ll eat everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I usually account for a snack as well throughout the day. Then I fill out the groceries I need to buy to make this happen. Then I post the planner on my fridge so that when I get up in the morning, I can check my planner and get out the appropriate food for the evening. Voila! No more nights spent craving meat that I forgot to thaw and no more getting ready to cook recipes, only to realize that I don’t have a key ingredient required!
Though I am now, by my own standards, very boring, I am definitely eating healthier and saving money, which, you know, is pretty great since it means more extra cash for important things like getting gas and paying my rent! I know this might not work for everyone, but it’s worth a try. And learning from my mistakes is better than taking five years to learn this yourself!! Five less years and fifteen less pounds, a gift from me to you.
Happy meal planning!