050: Meal Planning Into the New Year + A Free Download [Tip Tuesday]


Interested in systems but not sure where to begin? My advice is to start with something small and today’s tip is meal planning. Just doing this one thing will save you time every day so you can focus on more important things. It also solves the “what’s for dinner” question. Click below for a free (no opt-in) meal planner template.
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Discussed In This Episode:
  • Why meal planning is a good place to start when systematizing
  • Why meal planning is good for your sanity and can effect other parts of your life
  • 3 different ways to meal plan
Links Mentioned In This Episode:
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Welcome to Coffee Powered Systems, equipping women with actionable steps to overcome, overwhelm and streamline business and life. So grab your favorite drink and come hang out with me. I'm your host, Miranda Merten. Welcome to Coffee Powered Systems, today is Tip Tuesday, where I give you the skinny on an app or a tool that could be useful for your personal productivity. Today's tip is actually about how you can be a little bit more productive as we move into twenty, twenty one.


And if you're already doing this one thing, then you know what I'm talking about. If you're not doing it or maybe you've thought of doing it before, this is going to help jump start just your life in general on how you think through things. And then it will spill over into the way you think about setting up systems in other areas of your life. So what am I talking about today? I'm talking about meal planning and I'm talking about meal planning because I think that if you are not used to systematizing things in your life, this is an easy place to start.


It's something small. But, you know, cooking or planning out our meals is something we do anyways. But if you can organize it in a way to make your life a little simpler and a little more predictable, then it's going to help you understand how systems work and how getting organized helps, even with just an everyday thing like meal planning. So I know if you're not doing this, it can seem a little bit overwhelming or scary, but it doesn't have to be a big, huge ordeal.


And that's what's good about this.


There's a lot of different ways to meal plan, whether your setup is doing it small, like this is what we're having for dinner and I'm going to grocery shop around it, or whether you're going full out couponing or, you know, planning out your entire recipes and your entire meals and grocery shopping around that and maybe even down to portioning out your meals so that you have you can basically just reach into the refrigerator, grab your thing for the day and be done.


You can meal plan for just dinners or all three meals or maybe you just want to plan out more snacks or just breakfast, whatever it is, you can fit this into your lifestyle the way you work. Instead of fitting yourself into a mold, just work it around your life and what feels natural. What I do is I created a print out that I use every single week. I printed it one time. I post it on the refrigerator and I got some of those little plastic sleeves are kind of like the presentation sleeves that we used to use, like in high school or college.


When you wrote a paper and you slip the paper into the presentation sleeve, the little plastic liner, it's kind of like that. They sell them in. You know, you can get like a pack of twenty five for a few bucks. You just slip the paper in there, you get a wipeable or erasable marker and you can write on there. And then when you're done for the week you erase it and then do it all over again. This is perfect because you don't have to print out a new sheet every week, use a magnet and just stick it right to your refrigerator.


And I am going to drop my sheet that I created down into the show notes. Just click the link to access it. It is four pages, so there's a week for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or if you're one of those people that wants to plan every single meal of the day, there is one week that includes a line for breakfast, lunch and dinner all together. I just use the dinner one because that's the one that I'm most concerned with.


That one takes the most planning for me. Breakfast and lunch and snacks are pretty simple. We buy pretty much the same snacks every week. Breakfast is pretty much the same. Like six things on rotation and lunches are again pretty simple to do. You can throw together some sandwiches or salads or whatever. So those I'm not too concerned with the dinners. I like to keep it mixed up a little bit and try something different. I usually have to shop more strategically around dinner, so that's why I only use the dinner one.


So again, like I said, just click down in the show notes to grab that sheet. It's not an opt in when you click it, it's going to take you right to the sheets that you can download and you can see if you like it and see if it is something that would be useful for you. On my sheet, you'll notice that there is a little shaded area next to the boxes where you will write your menu. I actually have a circle magnet on my refrigerator and when I attach the sheet to the refrigerator, I use that little circle magnet to kind of move through the day.


So if it's Tuesday, the magnet goes into the square next to Tuesday. That way I can look at it really quick. Anyone that's in the house can quickly go to the refrigerator and see what day it is and see exactly what we're having. No more asking me what's for dinner. It just makes it easy. If I'm not around, they can look at the fridge and see exactly what's up there also before I go to bed. Check the sheet at night.


My kitchen is downstairs, bedrooms are upstairs, so before I head up to you, go to bed. I will take a stop in the kitchen, look on their fridge, change the magnet to the next day. And then also at that time, I'll see what I have planned. And I can either make a change on the fly or if there's something to defrost, that's when I'll take it out of the freezer, put it in the fridge and it's ready to go for the next morning.


So that alone will save you so much time. You know, it's not three o'clock in the afternoon you're going, Oh, I said I was going to make the pot roast and, you know, pot roast takes five hours and now I can't make the pot roast. So it helps just get you organized, even if you're if it's just for that, like just to know exactly what's coming up. You don't have to be super strict. I change things all the time.


You know, if I decide I don't want to make tacos, we can switch it up. It's not set in stone. What I do in that case is if I shop for six or seven meals for the week, I will usually throw in an extra one or two just in case I want to rotate something out. You know, sometimes something sound good one time and then by the time you get to Friday, you're not feeling like you want to have a hamburger.


So always good to have something to switch out. So how do you plan your meals? There's a few ways that you can do this. The first way is that you can base your meals around the grocery sales or recipe cards that they have in the deli. Some supermarkets like Publix, they have those like Greenwise recipe cards that you can see in the deli. Just go through some of those, picks them out, and then just you can have a nice file of recipes that you can go to if you belong to one of those food subscription services.


A while back, they have their own recipes on their website. Or if you did get subscription boxes, they sent recipe cards out. I used to get some of those. So I do still have some recipe cards from there. Every once in a while, I'll go in and see what we enjoyed and maybe something will be worked out good for that week if you want to do basic meals around grocery sales. And of course, you check out the sale fliers, check out the coupons and just go with that.


The second way you can do is do like weekly theme nights like Meatless Monday or Asian Tuesday Mexican for one night. That way you're pulling from a pool of certain types of meals and it kind of helps you narrow it down and kind of figure out that way. And then the last way is pretty much just the way I typically do it is just do your standard family meals or if you see something or hear something good that you want to try, then just jot those down.


I kind of have a rotation in my head. I know what works. I've been cooking for a long time, so I know kind of what works and what my family likes and doesn't like. So I can choose from that and put it on, put it on the list so I will shop based around that. So I keep it real simple. Like I said, I just do dinners. But if you wanted to do that, you can also do it for breakfast.


Maybe you want to alternate a, you know, pancakes or eggs or oatmeal and you just want to put it up there just so you know what you have to shop for. It also helps your shopping list. So if you go ahead and plan out the meal, you can pretty much look at something. For instance, if you put meatloaf on there, you know exactly how to make a meatloaf. So you know what to put on your shopping list.


For the most part, if you're trying something new, obviously, you're going to need to look up the recipe. But most of us, we make the same things over and over again so we can pretty much pinpoint exactly what's going to go on that list. So that's one way to tighten up one of your systems. Just start small for the new year. You don't have to jump right in to full on project planning. If you are not ready to really get in there and systematize your business, you can systematize little things in life like that.


Another way that I use systems in just everyday stuff is with a cleaning schedule. So I did do a cleaning episode way back in the beginning of Coffee Powered Systems. I'll drop that link down in the show notes if you're interested in doing something like that as well. And this is just doing this, one thing will help save you more time so that you can focus on more important things and just get these things out of your head. And that's one of the biggest things with systems, is it's getting things out of your head so that you can move on and do something else.


So that is my tip for today. I will see you next time.


Thanks for listening to Coffee Powered Systems. You can find links to everything mentioned in the episode down in the show. Notes are on the website at mirandamerten.com. If you enjoyed this episode and would love to continue mastering your workflows and processes subscribe on your favorite podcast player. And join me here next time.

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