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How to Meal Plan to Save Time and Money

It’s Sunday night, you’re eating your takeaway, and you realize that you’ve failed to meal plan (again). Don't worry, tomorrow is a new day and there are little things that you can do during the week to make it all come together a little easier.
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Created from scratch in the SideChef Kitchen, where recipe inspiration and ingredient experimentation are a way of life.
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1. Checklist

To start off, go ahead and check what you already have at home. Type some of those ingredients into our search bar to get some inspiration. If you see something you like, press the '+' button and save it your cookbook. Congrats, you've started gathering recipes--that's half the battle!

2. Make the cut.

Begin to narrow down the list. Pick and choose the recipes that seem the most doable for your week (think about things like time and ingredients needed!) and stick with them. Then, think about the week ahead. Do you have any nights out planned? Any work lunches you have to attend? Note these down in order to accurately measure how many meals you have to prep for.

3. Time to shop!

Honestly, this is the hardest part. Double-check what you have at home, write down what you need to buy, and then you need to, you know...actually go out and do it.

Once you've chosen the recipes, create your shopping list in SideChef. We'll organize your ingredients and you can see which ones overlap. For example, if you’re making chili with vegetables, can you buy extra and use those veggies somewhere else?

4. How many servings?

Take time to think about how much you actually need. If a recipe says it serves 2 people, it will only last 2 meals, so make sure it matches how many servings you want it to last for. Use the app to up the serving size if needed!

5. Get ‘er done!

You’ve gone to the store, you’ve gotten your ingredients, and now it’s time to prep. Whether your prepping takes 15 minutes or two hours, make sure to start your week off right, even if it’s just marinating some chicken and chopping your onion. The most important day is Monday, so if you have your Monday sorted, you’ll be more likely to follow through with the rest of the week.

And don’t worry, the meal prep doesn't have to be fancy. You can have one container with your protein, one with the veg, and one with random things if you can’t decide where they go. When it comes to cooking, grab a handful from each and, presto, you've got something fast, easy, and tasty!

And there you have it--our tips to help you in getting better at this whole meal planning/prepping. Remember, the meal planning part means you know what you’re eating Monday-Friday. The meal prepping part means you’ve done something to help get those dishes in your belly in a more efficient way. Good luck, and happy cooking!

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