Smart Shopping 3: How to Meal Plan for the Week

In our third installment of our Smart Shopping series, Taylor covers how to meal plan efficiently, and her experience conquering the planning beast.

When it comes to planning ahead, not all of us are experts. Sometimes it can be difficult to get all of your eggs in the basket when there's so much to do and so little time. A streamlined week of dinners and lunches can be difficult to manage. That's why you should learn how to meal plan.

The thing is, if you're looking to shop in a smart and budget-friendly way, planning is not only vital, it's necessary. Though the last thing you may want to do on any given Sunday is surf the web to make lists of what to get at this week's trip to the store, if you want to shop smart, you're going to have to throw your anxieties to the wind, make like Nike and just do it.

One simple way to get through, or even started with, this process is to simply open up that Pinterest board you've been hoarding recipes on and pick out some simple yet delicious recipes. This, friends, is the first step to not only meal planning, but also meal prepping. Because when you learn how to meal plan, you learn how to meal prep.

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Meal prepping is something that many find daunting, even with the simplest of recipes. Why? Well, with so many services popping up and counter-intuitive ways to get meals, the idea of grocery shopping and physically putting the labor in seems . . . Time consuming. However, there's simply no denying the fact that making your own food is excessively more cost efficient, and much healthier, too.

Now that you've scanned through your numerous boards and your entire Instagram feed, not to mention meal plan guides from sites like The Kitchn, it's time to get shopping. Here's where you have some options: to get groceries delivered, or to get them yourself.

Clearly, the more budget-friendly thing to do would be is to simply do it yourself. But if you're truly too busy to make it to the store, there are several apps you can utilize for grocery delivery, such as Instacart, Favor, and AmazonFresh, to name a few.

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Now that your groceries are had in whichever form you chose to acquire them, it's time to start prepping. As someone wise once told us; there ain't nothing to it but to do it.

If you're a first-time meal prepper, invest in Tupperware, any and every kind of it. Not only does this give you somewhere to sectionally store your meals, it allows you to easily bring them with you wherever you may be going. This 42-piece set from Amazon for less than $20 has everything you'll need for a solid week's worth of meals.

At first, it may seem like a handful and a half, but we promise the learning curve isn't steep and things get easier as time goes on. Plus the effect this will have on your bank account and your figure will be all the proof you'll need to keep your budget on track and your eating on point. When it comes to ease of meals throughout the week, you'll never go back to delivery again.

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