This topic is one that has been discussed between my friends and me on numerous occasions. I started planning out our meals and lunches months ago, and it has made life so much simpler (and less stressful). At first, I was trying to scramble around at night or after work to make packed lunches and dinner, and that got old very quickly.
Meal planning sounds tedious, but I assure you, it makes all the difference during the week. At first, preparing my list took about an hour yet I've since figured out the swing of things and am much better at preparing.
My grocery shopping day is Sunday so I get enough food for the week to last us until then. I would suggest planning out for 2 weeks or even a month if possible. Planning out the week allows me to buy enough beef for 2 meals - one for Tuesday and one for Thursday.
For lunchtime we used to spend load of money eating out, but we now pack our lunches. On Sunday, right after grocery shopping, I make us both meals for the week typically leaving one open day for leftovers (or two depending on my meal plans). I go ahead and makes all our sandwiches, snacks and pack it all in Tupperware. A good tip, place a damp paper towel over the bread or whatnot to help not dry out.
Gather all your recipes for the week
Write down all ingredients needed (check your pantry and see what you already have to use)
If you have ingredients that spoil, plan those meals earlier on in the week
Enjoy your free time (cause now you have TONS of it)
Check out this awesome meal planning on a budget called food on the table. Its a great way to help get that plan, list and budget going.
Meal planning is easy and a great idea! If you put the time in up front, it will pay off in the long run and make your week easier. Enjoy!