7 Tips to Start Meal Planning — and Stick to It!


meal prepHave you been trying to get into meal planning but just can’t seem to stick to it? Or do you know that your budget will greatly benefit from meal planning but don’t know where to start? It doesn’t have to be so challenging. Follow these seven simple tips to get started with your meal planning today and stick to it for good!


1. Pick a Plan Style

If the amount of time meal prepping takes is one of the primary reasons you just haven’t been able to stick to it, you may want to consider a weekly meal plan. This means picking one or two days of the week to purchase and prep all of your meals. If you don’t mind or even enjoy the daily process of prepping, then opt for daily prep, in which you make the meals you are going to eat on a day-to-day basis.


2. Make the Simplest Meal First

You can use this tip whether you’re using the daily method of meal-planning or the weekly method. If you’re doing the daily method, make Monday meals the simplest of the week and work your way into more detailed recipes as the week moves on. If you’re doing the weekly method (and cooking all meals on one day), start with the easier (and less messy!) recipes before getting into the more challenging ones.


3. Use Seasoning to Cook Meat Differently in Just One Pan

Spicing up your food is a great way to keep your taste buds tantalized throughout the week. Not only will mixing up spices and seasonings give you a nice variety of flavour, it doesn’t have to take much extra work! Use aluminium foil to split your cooking pan into two or three different sections. You can season meats differently or create different recipes and cook them at the same time!


4. Don’t Start From the Beginning Each Night

If you choose to do the cooking on multiple nights of the week, proper prepping will keep meal planning from becoming monotonous. To prep like a pro, do little culinary activities to get you started on making the meal throughout the day — it can be as simple as cutting vegetables. Having a good portion of your recipe ingredients prepped in advance of your cooking time will help keep you on your meal plan.


5. Use Meal Templates

When we talk about templates, you may think that this idea helps to become super regimented. On the contrary, meal templates help to make meal planning liberating! Choose themes for your cuisine like “Taco Tuesday,” rice night, egg night, etc. The idea is not to make the same dish every time that day of the week rolls around, but to choose recipes in the same category to keep your shopping staples consistent from week to week.


6. Mix up Your Plans After a While

Now this may seem to run counter to our first tip, but once you’ve gotten in a rhythm with your meal plan for a while, start looking for ways to mix it up and keep it fresh. One of the easiest ways to do this is actually settling into a hybrid of the weekly and daily plans, where you have one day to do the majority of your meal prep for the week and a couple of days where you plan to cook from scratch. On these days, you may want to prep some of the ingredients for the days you will be cooking. Mixing it up like this is one of the best ways to prevent it from feeling like you’re eating leftovers every day.


7. Stick to Your List 

A big part of meal planning is the shopping. Naturally, it helps to stick to your list! Not only will this help you stay within your budget, but it will help you figure out exactly what you need and not worry about anything you don’t. Taking on extra items that aren’t in your meal plan will only stand in the way of sticking to your plan!

Barbara Davidson


Babs is a Senior Content Writer and financial guru. She loves exploring fresh ways to save more and enjoy life on a budget! When she’s not writing, you’ll find her binge watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos! 


The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else.