Step 1: Brainstorm your family’s needs. Do you have some picky eaters? Food allergies or intolerances? What does your schedule look like? Will you simply perish if you don’t have your egg white omelet each morning? By listing your needs in advance, you can be ready to deal with them.

Step 2: Write out your meals. It’s okay not to have three per day—many people eat lunch at a cafeteria, grab breakfast on the run, or eat out with friends frequently. Be honest, and figure out how many meals you’ll plan.

Step 3: Check the ads. See what’s on sale for the week and try to match this to your family’s needs. Start to fill in the big gaps in your schedule with entrees, sides, and desserts.

Step 4: Make a list. This is the part where you match those meals with their ingredients. Note how much you’d like to buy, just to be sure.

Step 5: Check your ingredients at home. Sure, you were going to make your signature meatloaf, but what if you come home and realize that your secret ingredient has run out? Add the missing ones to the list. Step 5: Purchase! This is the fun part. Try to purchase everything on your list… and nothing that isn’t on it!

Step 6: Re-evaluate. Once your first week of meal planning is over, how did it go? Did you end up a few meals short? Still have leftovers? As you become more adept at meal planning, it will get easier and easier.

Of course, if your meal plan fails, Hayek’s Market in Newton offers catering!

Categories: Meal Planning, Shopping Tips