The Steamy Kitchen Guide to

Reverse Meal Planning

Most meal plans start with a collection of recipes accompanied by a long shopping list of ingredients to buy. This can create food waste if you don’t eat every bit of it. Instead, we want you to work backwards. We want to teach you how to use our system to Reverse Meal Planning to help save you time and money, and prevent food waste in your home.

Our mission is so simple: Prevent Food Waste!

Reverse Meal Plan

Buddha Bowl Basics Cookbook

Low Carb Buddha Bowl Recipe Book

Buddha Bowl Signature Recipes

Love Your Leftovers

Learn how to repurpose your leftovers in a way that is fun, flavorful and tastes nothing like last night’s dinner!

Buddha Bowl Basics Recipes 

Check out our recipe index for basic meal prep recipes for proteins, veggies, sauces and more!

Using Reverse Meal Planning to 

Reduce Leftover Waste 

We are equipping you with the tools to cut down on your food waste by using what you have first! With our signature Steamy Kitchen Reverse Meal Planning Method and our delicious Buddha Bowl recipes, you will be able to use up what you have, love your leftovers, and save MONEY and cut food waste every single month!

This is our mission, and our goal is to help you do the same! Meal planning is one of the most effective ways you can reduce food waste and save on your monthly bills.  

The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that 25% of the food bought in American households gets thrown away.

For a family of four, that wasted food costs an average of $1,800 or $150 per month.

Can you imagine just throwing away $150 per month in the garbage or down the garbage disposal?

The biggest loss comes from food spoilage of fruits and vegetables. The next biggest loss is caused by people cooking or serving too much, causing waste in uneaten leftovers. With our Reverse Meal Planning method, we are helping you use up your leftovers, random fruits and vegetables in the drawer, and freezer and pantry items with our beloved Buddha Bowl recipes. 

 We lost count how many times we would go to the store, thought about what to cook for dinner, bought the recipe ingredients and then came home to find out we already had most of the ingredients at home. Sometimes we did this out of convenience because it’s more of a hassle to check the fridge and make a list and sometimes we just forgot. 

Planning out every single meal before you go shopping isn’t always ideal, but having a list of what you know you already have at home makes wandering the aisles of the grocery store easier. This way you are able to gain some inspiration wandering isles all while building on the items you have in your own kitchen. This will cut down on spending and wasted food. 

The key to this is checking your fridge, freezer, and pantry before you head out to the grocery store. Before you leave your house you will already be forming some sort of plan on how to tackle the items you will be planning your grocery shopping around. 

It’s always a great idea to plan a “leftovers” night into your weekly schedule too. You can do this by using your leftovers to create something entirely different making a blank canvas recipe or by building a Buddha Bowl and changing up the sauce and toppings to liven up the dish and make it feel like you’re eating something brand new.

How the reverse meal plan saves you money?

If you’re like me, you have probably taken a closer look at your typical spending and are wondering where you can cut back on costs to save you money. The thing is, I have financial goals and after really looking at my household’s usual spending, we all realized if there was one thing we could be saving money on, it was our grocery bill. 

At the start of Quarantine in 2020 we were homebound with limited options for grocery shopping. Once a week I would go buy groceries in bulk to last us at least the week ahead. Every day, I would cook up a storm (there was nothing better to do in quarantine than cook and eat!), and serve a massive feast for dinner and any leftovers would be carefully packed in single-serving containers.

At the end of the week, I would pull out packages of chicken that needed to be cooked YESTERDAY, bags of soggy, spoiled produce that I had forgotten about, hidden in the back of the refrigerator, and moldy fruit that went uneaten.

All the leftovers?

Some got eaten the next day for lunch, but the truth is, my kids and I just didn’t really enjoy the leftovers (unless it was steak….steak always got gobbled up!) I even tried to sneak in a portion of leftovers two nights later, alongside something new and fresh, but inevitably, the leftover food just kept getting pushed around to the side and then later thrown away. So much food, good food, that was thrown in the garbage or down the disposal.

One day, I was driving home from a walk with a friend. I took a little detour and went down the street of my son’s school.The school was still a half a mile away, but up ahead, there was a long line of cars that stretched around 3 blocks. I was curious, because summer school was all virtual because of the pandemic. As I got closer to the school, I could see cars in line, snaking back and forth in the parking lot. Towards the end of the line, trunks were popping open, and volunteers were placing large bags inside.

All these people were hungry. They couldn’t afford to buy food. All while I was throwing away good food, every. single. day.

I called my friend and I cried. I needed to do better, I had to do better. 

I committed to coming up with a way and a resource for you to save you money when grocery shopping and that’s exactly what I’ve done!

Tips to becoming a 

Master Reverse Meal Planner

There are a few simple tips to become a master reverse meal planner: 

  • Check your pantry, fridge, and freezer before you leave the house. Center your other grocery items around the meals you’re making based on what you already have at home. 
  • Develop a list of meals that you love to eat, that you know you typically already have the majority of the ingredients in your kitchen. Make them your go-to meals! 
  • Prep in advance. Do you love rice and quinoa? Prep a big batch at the beginning of the week and pair with virtually anything else. Love having roasted veggies on hand at all times? Roast 2 large sheet pans on Sunday so you have your veggies ready all week. 
  • Keep prepped items sauce-less. This will allow you to change the flavors up as little or as much all week long. Not to mention they won’t be soggy either! 
  • Don’t be a sucker for sales. Sure, shop during sales, but don’t overbuy during those sales just because the price tag is good. You will inevitably waste more food and money.

Once you get on top of your grocery spending, you might realize you can apply this method to other areas of your life, like spending money on clothing, subscriptions, and other material items you probably don’t need anymore.

How To Simplify Meal Planning: 

The thing is, meal planning doesn’t have to be this super long and complicated process. That’s why we want to break it down into easy, actionable steps so you don’t have to work that hard.

1. Make a standing date with yourself! This will ensure that planning gets done every single week. The reality is that we don’t plan because we don’t make the time to do it. Treat it as a priority, get on a regular schedule, and make it part of your weekly routine. 

2. Food doesn’t have to be complicated, simplify your ingredient list. Create simple bases to recipes to keep meals easier. Every meal doesn’t have to be a huge gourmet feast. Simplify your mains and base ingredients and fluff up your recipes with a simple, yet exciting sauce that will uplevel and change every single meal instead. 

3. Practice what we preach. Learn to LOVE your leftovers! Cooking once and eating that for several meals during the week will save you enormous amounts of time. The thing is, we’re not saying it all has to taste the same! If you keep things simple when you first cook them, you will be able to change the flavor profiles all week to make them feel brand new. You can do this for lunches and dinners to save yourself time and make your second or third meal different. 

4. Create a list of food and meals you and your family actually love to eat. Each week doesn’t have to contain new and original recipe ideas. Stick to things that are favorites in your home. If you decide to write a list weekly, but have a hard time filling a few days in, use the favorites list to pack your week with meals you love. 

5. Make the most of your pantry staples. When we say pantry we mean pantry, fridge, and freezer! Keep your pantry stocked with things you use frequently. Maybe that’s noodles, beans, diced tomatoes, gochujang, miso paste, vegetable stock, soy sauce, vinegars, rice, frozen vegetables, and ground meats. This will make grocery shopping easier, more efficient and gives you a backup plan if your meal planning falls off the wagon for a day or two. It will also help you build off of the ingredients you know you always have on hand when it comes time to plan for the week ahead. 

6. Label Label Label! We can’t say this enough, but please label everything. Give them expiration dates, meal ideas, and when to eat before dates. We even suggest adding reheat instructions in case a less experienced cook is the one preparing the meal. This will keep you and your family on track with what needs to be eaten when and how you plan to consume it so nothing ends up in the trash. You can find our favorite Water Soluble Labels here that we use on every single container! 

7. Eat to thrive! Take small steps to align your eating and food consumption with how you want to feel. No, we’re not doctors, but we know eating as much Whole Foods as possible is one of the keys to thriving. More fruits and veggies and less processed foods. Eating healthy can be expensive, but if you plan accordingly while Reverse Meal Planning, you will continue to save money and stop wasting food.

 

How to simplify meal planning?

STEP ONE: Clear Mindset, Clear Kitchen.

This is where we dive into our mindset and get clear on how having an organized food system and kitchen will help us feel. We like to start with a clear mind by journaling out intentions, shifting our mindset from our habits and stepping into new ways of viewing meal prep and our kitchen! 

STEP TWO: Kitchen Detox.

This is where we clear old food, low energy and clutter! We walk you through how to get clean and organized in your fridge, freezer and pantry! Make sure to check out our next free 5 Day Fridge Detox Challenge designed to help you get organized, and do it as a community! 

STEP THREE: Take Inventory.

Our inventory process helps you get clear and track food that you already have! We believe in labeling with a purpose! Practice what we preach. Learn to LOVE your leftovers! 

STEP TWO: Kitchen Detox.

This is where we clear old food, low energy and clutter! We walk you through how to get clean and organized in your fridge, freezer and pantry! Make sure to check out our next free 5 Day Fridge Detox Challenge designed to help you get organized, and do it as a community! 

STEP FOUR: Restock with Good Food & Energy.

It’s time to replenish with food that is high vibrational and makes you excited to eat it! We help you restock your fridge as well as add good energy into your space!

STEP FIVE: Reverse Meal Plan.

We teach you how to reverse meal plan starting from your kitchen first! With the inspiration of Blank Canvas recipes like Buddha Bowls we help you transform your way of cooking, so no last piece of cucumber or half an onion gets left behind! thing is, meal planning doesn’t have to be this super long and complicated process.

So let’s break these steps down! 

Step One

is all about creating good energy and flow. We need to discard bad and stuck energy and get rid of things that no longer serve you so that good and positive energy can flow in its place. This is a special and important step because this can be used in every aspect of your life. In terms of food, consider getting rid of things sitting in the back of the pantry nobody has touched. Get rid of or donate things nobody actually likes the taste of and replace it with something that will inspire you to be your happiest and healthiest self. 

step two and three 

are where things start to heat up. Cleaning, organizing, and the full kitchen detox. This is an important starting point because being able to Reverse Meal Plan, is actually knowing what you have in your kitchen to begin with. The kitchen detox days will be a process of setting up your new kitchen by discarding expired items, cleaning your entire space, and creating an ironclad labeling system. These steps will help you release old, negative energy, cut down on food waste massively, and save money! 

In both of these steps, we will be equipping you with the tools to totally detox your kitchen with health, eco-friendly  kitchen swaps, non-toxic kitchen cleaning products alongside homemade DIY kitchen cleaners, and giving you the confidence to be ruthless during this process. We believe everything should have a home in your fridge and we will help you to create fridge zones so you can see everything you have in your fridge at all times. 

By labeling everything, we are able to create a solid plan for the week ahead. Use water soluble labels to write the date and any reheating instructions. Our biggest tip is to write recipe ideas on the labels so you know exactly what you will be doing with that item all week long. This even applies to leftovers! Have a ton of leftovers, split it into a handful of meals and decide how you can do something differently with it to make it feel brand new! Remember, your food is an INVESTMENT! How would you care for any other investment?  

step four  

is your restock day! At this point you made it through the challenging part of the detox. Your kitchen is clean, clear of negative energy and any food that no longer serves you. At this pint in the detox, we want you to restock your space with nourishing foods and positive energy. This is a cleansing journey, even deeper than your kitchen, so we ask that you restock with intention. Be selective about the foods that your bring back into your kitchen. Try to focus on whole foods, but also things you know will get eaten, because the main purpose is to reduce food waste and save you money! Don’t over-buy and keep track of what you have using your inventory sheets. 

Don’t be a sucker for sales.
Buy only what you need and what you know will get eaten.
Be selective and mindful about every single purchase. 

Use the weekly grocery list in the Ebook to keep track of any staples as soon as you run out of them. You will be able to split your grocery list up into produce, protein, dairy, dairy, snack, and other items to help you stay on track with your health and financial goals and buy only what you need.

step 5

the main event and the whole reason we started this in the first place – REVERSE MEAL PLANNING. This is the meal plan that starts in reverse to help you save money and prevent food waste. The Reverse Meal Plan Ebook is loaded with tons of blank canvas recipes.

What’s a blank canvas recipe?

These are simple 30 minute or less recipes with flexible ingredients, so that you can use up what you already have on hand, simply shopping from your kitchen first. These recipes will help you find new ways to use leftovers without it tasting like last night’s dinner.

 

Why Does Reverse Meal Planning Work?

Here’s the thing. It does work, but like with anything else in life, if you don’t put in the work, it won’t. Meal planning in any sense is a commitment. It’s a commitment to your overall mental and physical well being, a commitment to your goals, and a commitment to yourself. 

Flexibility. The Reverse Meal Plan is super flexible. It is not a rigorous program, but a lifestyle change that anyone can make fit into their daily life. Life happens, things come up, some days are longer and harder than others. When you don’t have to think about the meals you need to prepare everyday, it will bring ease into your life. With our system, you know exactly what you have in your fridge, pantry, and freezer, and are able to create meals surrounding the items you have already bought, and this includes using up leftovers too! 

Save money! Utilizing the Reverse Meal Plan saves you from literally throwing away your money (ahem, food). This plan allows you to create specific meals using up what you already have. Remember, shop from your kitchen FIRST! You will go to the grocery store with a purpose and no longer buy things you don’t need or don’t serve you on a whim. Aside from all of those amazing money saving things, the Reverse Meal Plan will save you money by preventing you from ordering last minute takeout food that is costly! 

Prevent food waste! With meal planning in reverse, you will be sure to use what you have before it spoils and expires. Having a plan for the items in your fridge, pantry, and freezer will help you to literally stop throwing your money away. Be diligent with your labeling and add use by dates and recipe ideas to everything, so all of your money (read: food) gets eaten and not thrown in the trash!

Save time. With your inventory and grocery lists already written out, it will save you time from wandering the grocery store aisles aimlessly. Knowing what you already have stocked will save you time from having to think about what to eat for every meal all week long. To save you even more time, batch cook grains and easy proteins at the beginning of the week and use them in various ways all week long. Batch cook some oats to bring on the go with you in the morning and cut up fruit and pre portion so you don’t have to think twice. 

Decrease stress and let out a ‘wooooooosa’. The daily question of “what’s for dinner?” is a thought that crosses our minds many times throughout the day. It can cause constant stress and takes up too much space in your ever-going brain. Having the Reverse Meal Plan will prevent this stress! You can reuse meals and grocery lists to keep it simple. Simplify your meals, use colorful ingredients (we’re not talking cheetos here), batch prep some staples, build your meals around your staples and leftovers, and have fun with it. Don’t overcomplicate it! 

Make healthier choices. By Reverse Meal Planning, you can aim to have nutritionally well-balanced meals all week long. You are able to control how colorful your plate is! Planning will ultimately allow you to take control of your personal nutritional needs and health goals, but like we said before, you’ve got to put in the work to make it happen!

Our Favorite 

Reverse Meal Plan Tools

Eco Friendly Cleaners

Water Soluble Labels

Glass Containers

Fridge Organizer

Beeswax Wrap

Want to see all of our Steamy Kitchen kitchen gadgets, favorite lifestyle items and more! Browse through our Steamy Kitchen Online Boutique! 

Is Reverse Meal Planning Healthy? 

The benefit of Reverse Meal Planning is that not only can you have a big impact on your budget, but you can make a big impact on your health too! With the Reverse Meal Plan you will know what your meals will look like at all times. If counting macros is your thing, this will make it so much easier to track so you are able to achieve your health goals. Being in control of the ingredients you use can make an impact you didn’t even think was possible. You can control the amount of oil, salt, sugars that you are using and so much more.

Whether you are cooking for one, two, or a whole family you can instantly start improving your food choices with Reverse Meal Planning. Commit and take the time to plan out healthy meals all week long so you can achieve your goals and feel the best you’ve ever felt. We were meant to thrive after all!

all the fixings for this pineapple chicken buddha bowl
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