Want to take the guesswork out of meals for the week? Here are some tips for creating a meal plan.
- Use a meal planning worksheet: Print a 5-day meal planning worksheet, spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/plan/menu-planning.
- Look at your calendar. Think about school, work, and other events you have scheduled and include those in your plans.
- What do you already have at home? Check your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer for food you already have on hand and write those on your meal plan worksheet.
- Use grocery store ads. Check grocery store ads and write in sale items that pair with foods you already have on hand to make a meal.
- Include all food groups. Review your meal plan to make sure you have a good variety of each food group throughout your meals and snacks. Explore MyPlate, www.myplate.gov, to learn more about what to include.
It’s okay to be flexible with this plan and make adjustments on the fly. Stock simple foods, like fruits and veggies you prepped over the weekend, to grab on those busier days. Include leftovers in your meal plan by making a double batch of a recipe and serve it again the next day or freeze to use later. Using freezer meals are great for busy days when you don’t have time to cook.