10 Easy Steps to Meal Planning

Meal planning is the best tool for the everyday home cook for many reasons. It's easy to do once you get the hang of it. Here are10 easy steps on how to meal plan...

1. Grab your meal planner notepad.

2. Grab your weekly calendar and check your schedule to determine how much time you have to cook each night.

3. Decide what type of food you wish to eat during the week. You don't want to be eating pasta every night because that get's boring. Why not try a fish dish or a vegetarian meal?

4. Find a recipe based on what you want to eat and how much time you have to cook. For instance, on Monday you've decided to eat chicken. You look and see that you have a class on Monday night and only have 1/2 hour to cook and eat. You will need a super fast dish, such as chicken fajita. You may consider cooking a roast chicken on Sunday night so you can throw the extra chicken into the recipe or buy chicken that's already cut into strips for an easy stir-fry.

5. Write down where the recipe is, (cookbook and page number) or bookmark the website, or cut and paste the recipe into OneNote.

6. Decide on your side dishes. Will you have a salad? Vegetables? Rice? Potatoes?

7. Start a shopping list.

8. Check your pantry and see what needs to be replaced. Since you are going to the grocery store, you might as well buy food you are running out of.

9. Go and do your shop.

10. Give yourself a pat on the back for completing a meal plan. You will find that your cooking will be enjoyable; you will eat better, have more time and have less stress.