Meal planning in your bullet journal is one of those things that can make a huge difference in your life. It seems so small and simple, but it has a huge impact. After all, everyone eats! So why not find a way to make it more efficient? I’m so thrilled to have Alex from @Misfit.Plans here to share her suggestions to get the most out of meal planning in your bullet journal. So take it away, Alex!
Meal Planning in Your Bullet Journal
If you’re anything like me, you lead a busy life and the last thing you want to think about when you get home is what you should cook for dinner. While my bullet journal has played a major role in boosting my productivity over the past two years, meal planning has also become an integral part of my lifestyle. In this post, I’ve outlined a few reasons why meal planning is great for anyone, whether you’re a single college student or a stay-at-home parent taking care of a family. I truly believe that it can benefit anyone and everyone.
So let’s get into the basics…
Three Reasons I Meal Plan
- It Saves Time – About 30 minutes of meal planning each week feels like it saves me HOURS of agonizing over what recipes I can make using what I have in the kitchen, extra trips to the grocery store for that one extra ingredient I need, and even cook time, depending on how busy I am.
- I Save Money and Reduce Waste – I just graduated college and currently live with roommates. We all work different schedules so 90% of the time, I’m cooking for one. It can be SO hard to buy the proper amount of food unless I’m planning in advance. On weeks that I don’t meal plan, I often end up throwing away loads of food that I bought thinking that I’d use it at some point during the week, and ended up letting it rot. When I plan my meals and snacks each day, I can compile a grocery list with the exact quantities of what I need for the week, and if I stick to it, I can minimize wasted money and food.
- I Eat Better – I started meal planning because I was still stuck eating like a college student. Even though I’m a pretty decent cook, I would always gravitate towards what was quick and easy at the end of the day (which is rarely healthy) because I didn’t want to spend time and brain power deciding what to eat.
When I meal plan, I’m also less likely to make impulse-buys when I’m grocery shopping, because I have an entire list of food laid out that I know I’m going to eat.
My Meal Planning Routine
Like bullet journaling, the meal planning process is entirely dependent on the user. Spreads will also vary from person to person, but I always suggest starting off with a basic table/grocery list format and going from there!
Many of my recipes come from a centralized recipe collection I keep in my journal (you can find a great idea for a recipe bank spread here). My own personal recipe collection is just a two-page spread featuring dishes separated by breakfast, lunch/dinner, snacks, and desserts (I’m pretty big into baking, so this is always a long list).
Once I’ve taken a look at my recipe bank, I have to also take a look at what I’m doing for the week. If I know I’m going to be going out for dinner (This week, it’s my boyfriend’s birthday, so we’ll be eating out for dinner on Monday) or gone for the entire day (we’ll be at Disneyland on Saturday), I won’t plan meals accordingly. I make sure to plan 3 meals each day, as well as a snack (or two if I’m going to the gym that day).
My Leftover Game
By checking what I have planned during the week, it also allows me to plan for leftovers pretty well. Fortunately, most of the dishes I chose for dinner this week are ones that I can cook single servings of. For larger recipes like my cashew caesar salad dressing, I know that it will yield roughly 6-8 servings and I do my best to space them out across the week accordingly to minimize food waste.
Once I’ve figured out my schedule and decided on my recipes for the week, I get to filling my plan in! Once it’s all filled out, I take stock of what I have in the kitchen, create a list of what I need (Including any grocery staples that may not be needed for recipes immediately on the list, but that I know I will likely need for future weeks or use on a very regular basis such as eggs and butter). I then transfer this list to a notepad document on my phone, since I don’t carry my bullet journal with me wherever I go, and it’s off to the grocery store! Don’t forget your reusable bags!
More Meal Planning Tips
If you have a store that sells goods in bulk nearby, you can save even more money by meal planning! By buying the exact amount of any given ingredient that you need, you’re minimizing waste and saving money on ingredients that may go bad before you get to use them!
This whole meal planning process takes maybe 15-20 minutes from start to finish. If I’m getting a little more creative with my spread, it can take a bit longer, but the nuts and bolts of the process remain the same.
I hope that this post was helpful and gave you some good ideas on how to start meal planning for yourself. In addition to saving time and money, meal planning is a great way to keep yourself on a healthy diet, and take the guesswork out of “what’s for dinner?”
Find me on Instagram @Misfit.Plans for more!