Meal Planning 101

Last week we talked about the benefits to meal planning.  My favorite is the reduced stress that meal planning can bring.

Let’s talk about the basics of meal planning.  First, I urge you to keep it simple, especially if you’re trying meal planning for the first time.  While you can plan three meals a day, seven days a week, let’s just start with one meal.  I’m going to pick dinner for my example because I hate that feeling at 5 o’clock of what are we going to eat?!?

  • Take a regular sheet of paper – we’re keeping it simple!
  • Write down the days of the week.  Mark any off that you will not be preparing that meal – for instance, perhaps you have a weekly night eating out.
  • Write down meals for the remainder of the week.  Stick to easy recipes that you enjoy preparing, especially this first week.
  • Now you have your meals, write down the ingredients you will need to prepare the meals for the week.
  • Shop your kitchen first.  There’s no sense in buying spaghetti sauce for spaghetti and meatballs if you already have three jars in your cupboard.  Cross off the ingredients you already have.  And your weekly shopping list is complete!  Head off to the store and buy only what you need.

Try it out – let me know how it goes or any questions you have!

 

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Downsize and Declutter your Kitchen in 15 minutes a Day

Our society can become inundated with stuff!  It can feel so good to challenge yourself to declutter and enjoy your space again.  Downsizing does not have to be a large-take-all-weekend-and-go-through-everything-you own, but simple!

I challenge you to declutter your kitchen this week, in 15 minutes a day:

Day 1: Countertops.  Countertops can be one of those places that are easily cluttered.  Consider the purpose of your counter – if it is for food preparation, anything not having to do with food preparation should find a new home!  Only keep out appliances that you use on a daily basis.  For instance, I love my Panini maker, but we only use it once or twice a month – it does NOT belong on the counter.  But my coffee maker – it has a permanent residence on the counter!  Wipe down each counter – doesn’t it look great?

Day 2: Refrigerator.  Go through and toss any expired/moldy food (ew).  Consider your family’s needs and group food together in the fridge accordingly.  For instance, condiments should be grouped together.  Take stock of what you already have in the fridge so you can eat it and not waste food.  Wipe down each shelf and admire your newly organized refrigerator!

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Day 3 – Freezer .  Go through and toss any expired/moldy/really really old food.  Group like foods together.  Wipe down the freezer, and you have a beautifully organized freezer.

Day 4: Tupperware/food storage.  They are fantastic inventions –but where are the lids?  Go through and make sure each piece has a matching lid – put any that don’t in your get-rid-of pile.  Now look how much you have left.  Do you really need 245 containers?  Pare down to a reasonable amount or only keep those that stack easily together.

Day 5-6: Go through 1-3 cabinets a day (depending on the size of your kitchen).  Consider each utensil, appliance, etc and ask yourself: Have I used this recently?  Does it bring me joy?  Do I have room?  Make a pile of kitchen supplies to donate to your favorite charity.  Wipe down each cabinet.

Day 7: Enjoy your kitchen and stop to ask yourself before you bring in new possessions – do I need it?  Does it have a purpose?  Will it bring me joy?