10 Secrets to Meal Planning Like a Pro

Become a meal planning maestro with 10 Secrets to Meal Planning Like a Pro. Learn expert tips and tricks to make your weekly meal prep more efficient, cost-effective, and enjoyable.

To further streamline your meal planning process, discover 15 meal planning tricks to save you time and money and explore the beginner’s guide to meal planning for a comprehensive introduction to this invaluable skill.

10 Tips For How To Meal Prep Like A Boss!
1. Start with a well-stocked pantry and essential ingredients.
2. Plan your meals in advance to save time and reduce stress during the week.
3. Utilize batch cooking and meal prep to maximize efficiency.
4. Customize your meal plan based on dietary preferences and nutritional goals.
5. Experiment with new recipes and flavors to keep mealtime exciting.
6. Make use of leftovers creatively to minimize food waste.
7. Incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables for a balanced and nutritious diet.
8. Keep your meal plan flexible to accommodate unexpected changes or cravings.
9. Streamline your grocery shopping by making a detailed list and sticking to it.
10. Stay organized with a meal planning system that works best for you.

Eat Before You Shop

The best way to avoid buying junk food while grocery shopping is to make sure you are actually hungry when it’s time to shop. If you are planning on eating a meal before going shopping, you will know what kind of ingredients and foods your body wants at that time. 

When we go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, we tend to buy more processed foods than if we had eaten beforehand. This is because our bodies are looking for energy instead of good nutrition when they are hungry (and most people only think about how much sugar or salt their products have). 

By eating something nutritious and filling beforehand, like oatmeal or an avocado toast, we will be able to see what our bodies need instead of just reacting with whatever looks good at the moment.

Meal planning is a powerful tool for simplifying your home cooking routine. Learn how to streamline your meals and save time with our comprehensive guide on simplifying your home cooking.

Write A Meal Plan First

Before you start shopping, it’s a good idea to write down your meals. You’ll save time and money in the long run by planning out your meals before you hit the grocery store. 

It’s also a great way to ensure that nothing gets wasted because you bought too much or have leftovers that won’t be used before they go bad.

Here’s how:

  • Brainstorm potential meals and make a list of ingredients needed for those recipes (try not to forget anything).
  • Check off each ingredient as you add it into your cart—this way, there are no surprises at checkout!

Make Your Kitchen User-Friendly

Make sure you have all the tools you need to cook. You don’t want to be running around looking for a garlic press or a wooden spoon while your chicken breasts are burning in the oven. If you don’t have an appliance that helps with certain prep steps (like a food processor), then consider getting one before starting meal planning.

Organize your kitchen so it’s easy to find things and keep it tidy, clean and organized (see this post about organizing your pantry). 

I like keeping my cooking oils on the cabinets above my stove because they’re easy to grab when I’m cooking something quickly but if space is limited, I would recommend storing them in a corner of your countertop with other frequently used items such as spices and flour rather than putting them way up high where they could take up too much room in one spot.

Effective meal planning is the key to achieving your weight loss goals. Check out our ultimate guide to meal planning for weight loss and discover strategies to optimize your meals for a healthier lifestyle.

Don’t Forget About The Freezer And Pantry

If you’re trying to get dinner on the table with as little effort as possible, don’t forget about the freezer and pantry. 

When it comes time to plan your meals, take stock of what’s already there. If something’s running low on supplies, add it to your shopping list or make a quick trip to the store before heading home from work.

If you find yourself lacking inspiration for dinner ideas or just want some new recipes in general, check out Pinterest for tons of ideas and inspiration. 

You can also check out our blog for even more meal planning tips!

Break Out Of The Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner Box

Breakfasts are not just for mornings. You can have a healthy breakfast any time of day—and it need not be limited to eggs, toast and bacon.

Lunches don’t have to be eaten at lunchtime either; why not take advantage of those leftovers from last night’s dinner? And if you have your heart set on having something different, try one of these healthy lunches that are sure to surprise you with their deliciousness:

For busy individuals, meal planning can be a game-changer. Our busy person’s guide to meal planning offers practical tips and time-saving techniques to help you stay organized and nourished even on the busiest of days.

Meal Prep Something Every Day

Make it a habit to cook ahead, or at least plan for it. You don’t necessarily have to be in the kitchen for hours every Sunday afternoon cooking a week’s worth of meals, but even if you just take 30 minutes one day each week to make your lunches, that will free up a lot of time during the work week when you aren’t worrying about what to eat or running out of time before dinner rolls around.

Keep your pantry stocked with staples so that when those moments arise where you don’t have anything planned and need something fast without having to run out for takeout (or worse: microwave dinners), there are some options available besides chips and crackers!

Having good routines is key—for example: instead of going out after work every night with friends because they invite you last minute, try planning these nights beforehand! 

Choose one night per week where everyone can hang out at home (or an apartment/house shared by all involved) instead so that there’s no confusion about where everyone stands on spending time together… no more getting stood up because someone forgot about how important this meeting was supposed to be.”

Benefits of Daily Meal Prep

Time-savingDaily meal prep helps save time during busy weekdays.
ConsistencyRegular meal prep promotes healthy eating habits and consistent meal choices.
Reduced stressHaving meals prepared in advance reduces mealtime stress and decision-making.
Portion controlDaily meal prep allows for portioning meals appropriately and supports portion control goals.
Cost-effectiveBy planning and prepping meals daily, it can lead to financial savings compared to dining out.

Recommended Meal Prep Resources

MealimeA meal planning app that offers personalized meal plans, grocery lists, and recipes.
Fit Foodie FindsA food blog with an extensive collection of meal prep-friendly recipes and tips.
PrepdA brand specializing in innovative meal prep containers and accessories.
Half Baked HarvestA popular food blog featuring creative recipes and meal prep inspiration.
ZiplocA renowned brand offering a variety of storage solutions for meal prep, ensuring freshness and convenience.

Batch Cooking Is Your Friend

Batch cooking is a great way to make sure you have plenty of healthy meals on hand for your busy week. 

Here’s how it works:

Make a bunch of one meal, and freeze the extras. For example, make enough homemade spaghetti sauce to last through several dinners as well as leftovers. Spaghetti is also easy—just toss it with some hot water in a microwave-safe bowl and heat up!

Cook once, eat twice! If you have leftover chicken or beef from dinner, use them in another dish later on in the week (like a salad or soup). This saves time since you won’t need to defrost anything—just add fresh ingredients and reheat!

Discover 15 ingenious meal planning tricks to maximize your time and save money. Dive into our article on meal planning tricks to learn how to optimize your food preparation process effectively.

Don’t Be Afraid To Fail.

One of the most difficult parts of meal planning is asking yourself, “What if this doesn’t work? What if I can’t do it?”

But remember: If you fail at something and no one’s around to see it, does anything really matter?

The point is that you need to feel comfortable trying new things without letting fear prevent you from going forward. Don’t be afraid to try something new (like a new recipe) or add an ingredient that might have been off-limits in the past (like kale). 

The important thing is that all these experiments result in delicious dishes—and if they don’t turn out right, don’t be afraid to discard them and start over again on your next meal.

Benefits of Embracing Failure in Meal Planning

Improved learning and growthEmbracing failure in meal planning allows for experimentation and learning from mistakes.
Increased creativity and innovationFailure can inspire creative problem-solving and innovative meal ideas.
Resilience and adaptabilityLearning from failure builds resilience and the ability to adapt to new meal planning challenges.
Confidence in decision-makingFailure provides an opportunity to learn from mistakes and make better choices in the future.
Discovering new tastes and preferencesEmbracing failure opens doors to trying new foods and flavors, expanding culinary repertoire.

Recommended Resources for Exploring New Recipes

EpicuriousA website and app featuring a vast collection of recipes from top chefs and home cooks.
Cooking LightA trusted source for healthy and flavorful recipes, offering a variety of cuisines.
Serious EatsA food-focused website providing in-depth articles, recipes, and cooking techniques.
BBC Good FoodA renowned culinary website offering recipes, cooking tips, and food inspiration.
NYT CookingDiscover recipes from The New York Times, with a wide range of cooking techniques and styles.

Find The Fun In It!

Sometimes, meal planning can feel like a chore. You don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen every day and you don’t want to cook food that your family won’t eat. Don’t worry—there are ways to make meal planning fun!

Find recipes you enjoy making: When you love cooking and eating, it’s easier to find joy in the process of putting together meals for your family each week. 

Look for cookbooks or websites that feature recipes that appeal to both yourself and those who will be eating with you. If possible, try some out before committing them all week long into your weekly routine; when everyone is happy with what they’re getting, it makes meal planning much less stressful!

Find recipes that everyone enjoys eating: This one goes hand-in-hand with finding ones that fit into your lifestyle if there are certain foods not eaten by anyone at home (i.e., no one likes olives), then why waste time cooking them?

If possible, try incorporating new dishes into the mix so there’s something for everyone and if someone doesn’t like something on a given night because they’re feeling picky that day but will eat another thing later on instead? Great!! 

The more variety offered each week from the same set menu means more chances for success over time! Plus–why force feed someone something he/she doesn’t like just because it tastes good?! That just leads down dark paths with unhappy faces all around…

Benefits of Finding the Fun in Meal Planning

Increased motivationEnjoyable meal planning makes the process more exciting and fun.
Higher adherence to the planWhen meal planning is enjoyable, people are more likely to stick to their plans.
Enhanced creativityFinding the fun in meal planning encourages experimentation with new recipes and flavors.
Positive mindsetEnjoying the process of meal planning promotes a positive outlook towards cooking and eating healthy.
Sustainable habit formationMaking meal planning enjoyable helps establish it as a long-term habit.

Cook With Your Kids

Parenting is a lot more fun when you can bond with your kids over something they love: food. Cooking with them is a great way to teach them about healthy eating, but it also teaches them the importance of cooking and preparing meals. 

They can help you chop veggies, mix ingredients, stir and even taste-test! This can be especially beneficial if they have allergies or other dietary restrictions; this way they know how to avoid certain foods and how to prepare meals for themselves.

Even if your kids are older than elementary age, providing this kind of guidance will make later independent living easier for them (and for you). 

Teaching children how to cook helps promote healthful habits from an early age—and as an added bonus it saves money on takeout dinners!

Don’t let leftovers go to waste – turn them into delicious meals! Learn 17 creative ways to incorporate leftovers into your meal planning by checking out our article on smart ways to use leftovers. Reduce food waste and enjoy tasty dishes at the same time.


These are just a few of the things you can do to make meal planning fun and easy. There are so many more tips out there that we didn’t cover, but these 10 will get you started with your own meal-making adventure! Happy cooking!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to further explore the topic of meal planning:

Meal Planning Secrets from Taste of Home: Discover insider tips and tricks for effective meal planning and preparation.

10 Beginner’s Tips for Meal Planning Like a Pro: Get started on your meal planning journey with these simple yet effective tips for beginners.

The Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning: Dive into this comprehensive guide that covers all aspects of meal planning and provides expert advice for successful implementation.


What are the benefits of meal planning?

Meal planning offers several benefits, including saving time, reducing stress, and promoting healthier eating habits.

How can I simplify my meal planning process?

To simplify meal planning, consider batch cooking, using theme nights, or utilizing meal planning apps and tools to streamline the process.

How do I plan meals that cater to dietary restrictions?

When catering to dietary restrictions, focus on ingredient substitutions, creative recipe modifications, and thorough label reading to ensure compliance.

How can I involve my family in the meal planning process?

Involving the family in meal planning encourages healthier eating habits and builds a sense of togetherness. Consider assigning meal responsibilities, creating a rotating menu, or involving children in grocery shopping and recipe selection.

How do I stick to my meal plan and avoid food waste?

To stick to your meal plan and minimize food waste, try using versatile ingredients, repurposing leftovers, and properly storing and organizing ingredients to ensure freshness and usability.