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7 Easy Meal Planning Tips For Total Beginners

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7 Easy Meal Planning Tips For Total Beginners - meal planning for beginners

Are you interested in giving meal planning a try?

Maybe you have some free time after your self-care Sunday and would like to prepare some delicious food for the rest of the week?

Well, that’s where meal planning comes to the rescue!

Meal planning is all about creating many options for meals throughout the week or month ahead.

It’s an effective food planning guide, that is backed with a plan, that’ll not only help you save more money but it’ll also save you a lot of time and effort, if thinking about food, stresses you out during the week.

Not only that, these key factors are what meal planners all benefit from, and it’s really why they all do it in the first place. 

And although it may sound like a lot of work, planning your meals ahead of time and sticking to it, creating a bunch of meals all in one go is how meal planning will benefit your health and your overall lifestyle.

Here are 7 simple meal planning tips (that all beginners should know), so you can easily become a meal planner yourself in no time at all.

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7 Meal Planning Tips For Total Beginners

What Is meal Planning?

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What is the overall game plan for meal planning?

Since we slightly went over what meal planning entails, going a bit further, meal planning essentially comes down to how you organize your meals and your family’s meals throughout the week.

So whether that’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, meal planning will give you an overall idea and outline for the week ahead.

It’s basically an easy-to-follow food schedule, that’ll help you keep your food intake in order, while also saving you time and money. 

It’ll also help you stick to your dietary needs in a simple and orderly fashion. 

And since meal planning is a fundamental game plan of creating an intentional outline of the foods that you will consume, before you head out to the grocery store, you’ll have to figure out what will work well for you and your family first.

Everyone's situation will be different especially when it comes to meal planning

Everyone’s situation will be different especially when it comes to meal planning, and there are no hard rules set in place.

Feel free to take these tips below and add layers to them if you wish because, at the end of the day, you will be the only one who knows, what is truly best for you. 

Think about what you really need, what you already eat on a daily basis, what you’d like to cut out, and what’s practical for you and your own lifestyle, too.

Here are 7 simple meal planning tips that will help you create your very own easy meal planning ritual, every single weekend, from here on out!

Let’s get started!


1. Aim for 80% of planned meals for your first couple of weeks.

Meal Planning Tips For Beginners

This sounds very contradictory to what meal planning is all about but if you are just beginning the meal planning process, it’s best to start small and plan out your meals for only one week, leaving some days where you can cook in-between.

Since you are just starting out, this will allow for some wiggle room for some improvisation with your meals, and also allow you to ease into this way of living.

If you are relaxed about it (while starting off slow and easy), you’ll have much less pressure, than if you were to be strict with yourself and go full-in and cook every meal for the week, right off the bat. 

Remember, most skilled meal planners still swap things out and change their plans mid-way through, so it’s totally fine to miss a thing or two, and start slow. 

As long as you have 80% of your meals for the week planned out, it’s totally okay to do your own thing in-between. 


2. Set aside a specific day for meal planning.

Typically, most meal planners do their meal planning and prepping on Sunday’s but ANY day of the week is good for this really.

Just find a day that works best for you and your schedule, and make sure to plan an extra hour or two for all your after shopping meal preparations.

Doing so will help keep the momentum going in the kitchen for when you are ready to start layering and cooking your meals for the week. 


3. Grocery Shop on a full stomach.

Grocery Shop on a full stomach.

Try getting into the habit of going grocery shopping for all your meal ingredients, only after you’ve eaten something and are completely satisfied.

This way, it’ll help steer you from purchasing items that are not on your grocery list and it’ll guarantee that you stick to your list. 

Plus, you’ll also save more money on your food in the long run, if you always do your grocery shopping on a full stomach.


4. Prep your food while it’s still fresh & Store foods according to your schedule.

7 Meal Planning Tips For Total Beginners - prep your food

Another good thing to remember is that meal planning isn’t all about prepping full meals in advance, with all of their ingredients mixed-in together, and since you are new to meal planning, prepping your food will help you get into creating those full meals down the road. 

Meal planning essentially is just another great way to make cooking so much easier for the week ahead. 

Let’s say, you already have your carrots and potatoes diced for easy cooking.

You can then store your food according to what meals you are going to have, by placing your diced veggies in a bowl of water in the fridge, and freezing a portion of the rest, for later recipes that are towards the end of the week. 

Doing this one step alone will help save you time and your food will last longer!


5. Take advantage of free meal planning apps.

Meal Planning Tips For Total Beginners - meal planning apps

Since meal planning is becoming very popular now, there are several food apps that are filling the needs of new meal planners, like yourself.

For starters, both FoodPlanner and Mealime are the best free apps that work great for newbie meal planners. They’ll not only help you get used to this way of staying organized with your food, but you’ll also get more recipe ideas, special insights, and even more meal planning advice.


6. Think double & Incorporate leftovers!

When it comes to meal planning -- Think double & Incorporate leftovers!

Another fantastic meal planning tip, that a lot of meal planners keep safely hidden, is they actually double a lot of their recipes!

With meal planning, there are no solid hard rules set in place, and incorporating leftovers is a great way to save more time.

For example, you can simply add rice to a leftover soup, and you’ve got yourself a brand new meal! But this is only a great tip if you have a tolerance for leftovers.

Now when it comes to doubling your recipes, if you choose to make more of the same meal, your meal planning day will seem a lot less effortless, for instance, instead of making six individual recipes, you only have to double three recipes.

If you choose to double your recipes, it’ll make it so much easier to space out your meals for the week, especially since you are new at it, and it’ll help save time cooking, which is what meal planning was absolutely designed for! 


7. Don’t be afraid to Personalize & Improvise.

7 Easy Meal Planning Tips For Total Beginners

Lastly, it’s 100% OKAY to reinvent the wheel when it comes to planning your meals.

Meal planning is very personal, and it will always be personal, so don’t be afraid to tweak recipes, swap ingredients to your liking, and skip a day if you’d like.  

Meal planning was simply invented so you can be extra prepared in the kitchen for the week or month ahead, to satisfy a few dietary needs and a great way to eat less unhealthy foods, and not overspend your budget.

That’s really all there is to it!

So, swap out ingredients for less expensive ones (if you can), indulge away if you’d like, and enjoy yourself while you recreate new dishes in your kitchen.

Who knows you might hang onto one of those improvised recipes for many years to come!

There you have it. Meal planning will not only help you save a lot of money, time, and energy, but most importantly, it’ll help you stay extra prepared and extra strong for when those unhealthy food cravings do kick in.


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