When you first start meal planning, it can feel overwhelming, intimidating, and even stressful. The point of meal planning is to plan and free up your time so that you’re less stressed, so it’s beneficial to plow through those beginning stages to get to the good stuff.
Here are some stress-free meal planning ideas to make cooking and meal prepping as fun and easy as possible.
1. Start Small
If you’re just starting to meal plan, don’t try to prepare all your meals for the entire week in one day. You don’t need to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner all planned out. Start with something small, such as your snacks for a few days of the week. Wash and cut up some fruits and veggies, brainstorm some quick and easy snack ideas, or go grocery shopping and get your ingredients.
Some simple snack ideas are apples and peanut butter, raw veggies with dipping sauce, or some pita chips with hummus. Then, try to plan for one or more meals when you feel more confident with meal planning. As with any habit you’re trying to introduce into your routine, setting small goals and working your way up to bigger ones always works best in the long run.
2. Make Easy & Quick Meals
Often, people try to make complicated meals when they meal plan. Don’t make this mistake — stick to easy and quick meals that won’t make you feel more stressed. Some of the most delicious recipes require little time and are simple to make with few ingredients.
There’s nothing wrong with simplicity and repeating meals. You don’t need to eat something different each week unless you like to experiment with new recipes, and that doesn’t add any extra layers of stress for you.