One of our least favorite parts of spring cleaning is having to clean out the fridge and kitchen. So this year, we’re nipping problematic kitchens in the bud with meal planning! Meal planning helps you to both organize your kitchen for easy meal prep and avoid over-buying food you can’t eat and wind up wasting. Here are a few tips to help you start planning out your meals for an easy to manage kitchen!
1. Pick Your Meals: Pick out all your weekly recipes in advance. Look carefully at the recipes you choose and plan your buying accordingly: don’t buy a whole bag of potatoes when one potato is all you need for three different meals!
2. Use Themes: Maybe one week will be salad week, and the next week pasta week. Or, instead of weeks, use days: you can plan to have a different theme night for each dinner and still cut back on your shopping when you buy easily stored supplies that can last more than one week.
3. Plan for Leftovers: If you live alone and always cook meals meant for two, don’t waste the second serving … find ways to “recycle” it! Either save the leftovers for lunch the next day or plan to repurpose them for another meal later in the week. Or, start the week with one big casserole dish and plan to eat from it all week with a variety of sides.
4. Early Prep for Faster Meals: Once you get home from the grocery store, start prepping your ingredients before you put them away! Slice, square, or shred your cheese for the various meals you’ll make during the week. Grill, brown, or bake your meats for an easy warm up come meal time. Prepare and store as many ingredients as you can early in the week so that by the time you’re pulling them out to cook, more than half the work is done!
5. Your Freezer is Your Friend: One of our favorite meal tricks is prepping dishes that freeze well. Why buy those frozen microwave dinners when you can enjoy a tasty reheated homemade meal? Make double batches of sauces, soups, stews, pastas, etc. and freeze them to satisfy the stomach of future you!