So many responsibilities fall onto the shoulders of Caregivers. Usually this includes grocery shopping and making sure there are food options for the week. It can seem to be a never-ending battle to stay ahead of it, and the daily “what do we have to eat” can feel like you’re on a hamster wheel. Add in dietary restrictions, picky eaters or special needs and it can all become overwhelming!
Meal planning is something I am personally VERY passionate about! I have a routine where I do mine every Sunday morning. Often people tell me: “I’m just too busy to meal plan.” And to that I say: “I am too busy NOT to meal plan!”. It helps me avoid stress and time wasted on unnecessary prep, grocery store runs and last minute changes.
Here are some of my meal planning tips to get you started:
1. Look at your calendar. Take a look at the calendar for you and your loved one to see what the next week has in store. Certain days will be busier than others and offer less prep time or maybe you already have a dinner scheduled. This helps you choose the right types of meals and also guarantee that you don’t purchase too little or too much food for your needs.
2. Write it down. Even though it may seem tedious, take a piece of paper and write down each day of the week and the meals you need to plan…just dinners? Or breakfasts and lunches too? Then jot down the meal you plan on having. Not only does this force you to make a decision, but if you’re like me, it gives you a reference point for later in the week when you forget what’s on the menu!
3. Make Your List. While you’re at it, take the menu that you just created and quickly make a list by writing down the ingredients you need for each meal. That way you can be sure you have everything on hand that you need for the week and save you from having to do all those last minute trips to the grocery store!
4. Get your groceries delivered. There are so many grocery delivery services to choose from! Shipt and Instacart are two well known ones, but many grocery stores have in house shoppers and delivery staff on hand that can help do some of the leg work and save you time! Usually they will do free deliveries over $35. Now that you have your list (Tip #3), you can easily go on the app or website and add everything to your cart and have it delivered same day.
5. Make double. Do yourself a favor and prepare double of the meals you make throughout the week. It doesn’t add any prep, cooking time or effort to the work you’re already doing. This way you can get more bang for your buck by eating leftovers for meals later in the week or freeze for a later time when you’re in a time crunch.