(Even As A College Student)
+ Free Printable!!
I absolutely love to cook. I love making new recipes and planning out meals. Before I started meal planning, I wasted so much money on food I never used. I would either decide what I wanted to cook, and spend way too much for ingredients or just go shopping and end up getting home and realize I just had a bunch of random stuff. I got tired of always trying to figure out what I could cook or trying to figure out what I could cook with what I had, so I started meal planning.
As a busy student, this helped me so much. I still meal plan now even though I’m no longer in school. By meal planning, I am able to make a grocery list with everything I’ll need for the week. Before, I would head and throw whatever looked/sounded good into my basket, try and figure out a few meals on the fly, and spend close to an hour grocery shopping. Now I’m in and out in under 30 minutes (except when there’s only one lane open, but that’s not my fault!).
My grocery bill has been cut in half and now I know what I’m eating every night! It’s also great for figuring out how to use those leftovers instead of leaving them in the fridge! I’ve been a bit behind these past few weeks, but I was super excited late last week to finally get all caught up! I finally had the time to sit down and work on my meal planning for the rest of the week and for this coming week!
As you can see, and maybe read in my How To Set Up A Bullet Planner post, I have a section in my bullet planner specifically for meal planning. I use these mini post-its to distinguish types of dishes (beef, poultry, seafood, etc.) and put them in a weekly setup. At the beginning of my meal planning section, I have a list of dishes and meal ideas, also organized by type of dish. This makes it really easy to find a meal to cook if I know what type of dish I want!
I mentioned using leftovers earlier….I have a confession, I hate leftovers. Depending on the dish itself, I just don’t end up eating leftovers. So I make sure to only cook what I need (unless I’m planning on freezing any), and I have to get creative sometimes to keep leftovers down to a minimum! For example, let’s say I cook steak tonight. Tomorrow night, you can bet I’ll be making steak quesadillas. Today’s tacos turn into tomorrow’s nachos. And that leftover sausage? Going in a beans and rice dish later.
So how can you start meal planning you ask? First, make a list of all of your favorite and regular dishes that you cook. Now add in any of those adventurous meals you’ve seen on Pinterest that you’ve been meaning to try. And you’re pretty much go to go! I started out planning out my meals for the month, but have since changed to planning on a weekly basis. With roommates, space in the refrigerator is tight, so only getting a week’s worth of food is much easier to fit!
Whatever you decide (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly), make sure to leave room for those “cheat days”! Sometimes it’s nice to be able to order in, or just eat cereal, or go out. Since I plan for the week, I usually only plan 4-5 meals that I actually cook. This leaves room for leftover days, those lazy days where I just want to eat whatever is laying around, or for take-out!
And there you have it! You’re all set to start meal planning! If you want to get your hands on my (FREE) go-to list of dishes and a fun weekly printable that you can use for your own meal planning, make sure to subscribe below! Plus, you’ll also automatically get any other fun printables I make and be updated about new content!
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