Are you ready for the new week? What’s the status of your kitchen? Take these easy steps to get organized for the week ahead so you can eat well and save time and money.
With the new week beginning, now’s a great time to do a little prep work in the kitchen. In just an hour or two, you can get organized for the days ahead and set yourself up for success — to eat well without losing your wallet or spending endless hours in the kitchen!
Meal planning, prep, and execution doesn’t have to be burdensome or tiresome. You just need a few easy strategies to get you started in the right direction.
Whether you’re looking to get simple, whole foods meals on the table or following a special diet like a Whole 30, that prep work can pay off in big dividends throughout the week, including “hanger management.”
Get Organized for the Week Ahead to Save Time & Money
1. Tidy up the kitchen.
Have you checked the status of your fridge, freezer, and cupboards? Are they due for a big clean out? While it’s not always the most fun task, doing a quick tidy makes a huge difference in your kitchen’s performance.
Dump out what’s old, straighten what’s out of place, and wipe things down. Not only will you know what you have for meal planning, but it will also be easier to find all the ingredients when you need them.
2. Plan out your meals.
Now’s the time to plan some meals. Don’t let the idea of a week intimidate you. If that seems scary, plan just three dinners to serve this week.
In your clean sweep, you’ll probably take a mental inventory of what you have on hand. Those ingredients are the building blocks of this week’s meal planning. What meals can you make with what you already have on hand?
Using up whatcha got means you spend less time and money at the store.
Make a list of meals you can make with what’s in the kitchen already. Or at least meals that you’ve already got a start on. Maybe you’ve got beans, rice, and taco shells. That’s the start of a meal!
Once you’ve jotted those down those meals to make, create a list of the missing ingredients. For instance, if you’ve got those beans, rice, and taco shells, make a note to pick up some ground beef and a block of cheese at the store for a taco night.
Find out what else you need to make your meals for the next few days and add those to your grocery list.
(If you’re just not feeling the meal planning mojo, let me do it for you. Check out my which meal plans I have available here.)
3. Hit the store.
Head to the grocery store and pick up those things you need to round out your meal plan. (Pro tip: the stores will be less crowded early in the morning.)
Once home, it should be easy to put things away since you already cleaned the kitchen cupboards and fridge. Do it right away so you don’t have to think about it…. except leave out the items that you can prep ahead right now.
4. Do some fast chopping.
If you’ve planned your meals, you’ll have an idea of what can be prepped ahead of time. Look over the ingredients list of your recipes. Is there anything you’ll need to chop, shred, slice, or dice?
Having cheese shredded, onions chopped, and peppers sliced, meals can come together quickly and easily without a lot of hassle or washing of cutting boards.
5. Make a meal to stash in the fridge.
What can you make ahead of time for packing to school, work, or your table at home? Whether at work, home, or play, it is so nice to pull a pre-prepped salad out of the fridge and just sit down to eat! Think about your favorite pasta salad or your favorite bean salad. Having that already to go in the fridge will help you out in a pinch, particularly when the siren song of take-out is beckoning you.
These are all great meals to pack ahead:
So, you’re all set! Once you do this for a few weeks, you’ll find that eating at home is easier, cheaper, and tastier. It will make cooking fun and simple!
BONUS: Avoid the drive-thru and daily grocery stops.
Just a little organization at the start of the week can really help you in the coming days. It might seem like work, but honestly, it’s not. You’ll avoid the drive-thru, won’t find yourself at the grocery store every single day (!), and you’ll enjoy fresh meals whenever you want them.
If you need more help on the prep side of things, please check out my series of ready-to-go meal plans. I’ve crafted it to help you be organized for the week ahead without a lot of hassle.
Each meal plan includes 30 recipes, 4 weeks of meal plans, and all the grocery lists, prep-ahead tips, and instruction that you need to eat well, spend less, and enjoy the good life. It’s basically a cheat sheet for you to get organized for the week ahead.
Do any of these tasks seem easy or hard for you?
Let’s chat in the comments.