Planning out your meals ahead of time not only saves you from wondering what you should make for dinner every night, but it will also save you money and can help you lose weight. If you have your dinner in mind already, you're less likely to go out to eat and less likely to overindulge on something you wouldn't necessarily eat at home, such as drinks and desserts. Planning your meals out isn't hard to do. See below for some tips on how to plan your meals for the entire week.
Write It Down
Make a list of all of your favorite family meals. You can either list them out on paper or play a game by writing your meals on a small piece of paper and putting them into a jar. Pull six meals from the jar each week. If you happen to pull one that you don't want, simply throw it back and grab another. Get your family involved in the game as well.
Make a Shopping List
Once you have your meals for the week, you can begin making out your grocery list for everything you need that week. Take your meals one by one, looking through the recipes and writing down what is needed for each. Then look through your pantry and scratch off anything you already have. What you have left is what you'll need from the store. Look for deals at your grocery store, such as price matching, to help save you money or look for coupons for anything you have on your list.
Some parts of meal preparation can be done ahead, like shredding chicken or beef, cutting vegetables, or preparing shish kebab skewers to help save time during the week. Place the prepared food in your refrigerator until you need it for your meal.
Don't assign meals to a certain day just in case you don't feel like that particular meal when the day comes. Be a little flexible with your meals and make a little more than you normally would so you always have leftovers. This way you can add leftovers as a meal option during the week as well. Some leftovers can also be frozen to use later on. Simply place them in a freezer bag or container and write the date on the container.
In order to keep from eating the same meals over and over again, you can add a new recipe each week to your meal plan. Look through cookbooks or online for recipes that appeal to you and your family. For more ideas about meal planning and to get help in meeting a specific nutrition or weight loss goal, speak to a representative from an establishment like Colorado Nutrition for Health Fitness & Performance.