Meal planning has a variety of benefits. It can save you money and decrease food waste because you buy exactly what you need at the grocery store. It can also help you avoid takeout or fast food and add a variety of healthy meals to your routine. Most importantly, though, meal planning saves you time, which can be a lifesaver for busy REALTORS®. Here are some tips to get started.
- Figure out what you need from meal planning. Are you scrambling to cook breakfast in the morning, or does dinner cause you the most stress? Do you find yourself frequenting the drive-thru for lunch? Planning three meals per day, seven days per week can be daunting in the beginning. Instead, try to figure out where meal planning will help you the most, and set a goal to improve that part of your routine first.
- Buy in bulk. Finding time to get groceries isn’t always easy. So when you do make it to the store, stock up on things like meats and vegetables that can go in the freezer, canned goods, rice and pasta, and broths. This is especially helpful when there’s a last-minute change in your meal plan; odds are, you’ll already have the ingredients you need.
- Prepare the ingredients. Prepping ingredients can be a major help during the week, especially on nights when you’re tired or feel less motivated to cook. Anything from chopping vegetables to boiling eggs and cooking chicken at the beginning of the week (or whenever you can) will save you time and energy later.
- Plan your meals with intention. Consider the week ahead before you assign meals. For example, on nights when you know you’ll be busy or working late, choose a pre-assembled freezer meal or slow-cooker dish that can be ready quickly.
- Utilize technology. You don’t have to do it alone—there are many apps designed to help you plan meals, create shopping lists, save recipes and more. Even apps you already use, such as Evernote or the basic notes app on your phone, can allow you to store meal information in one place.