I love a meal plan, my friends and family mock me for it! But I don’t mind as I love to know in ahead what we’re eating. It’s not because I’m a control freak (much) but because it makes my life much easier and saves me money. It’s one of my ways of being kind to my future self.
I work out my meal plan so that it suits our life. On days when I work long hours I make sure we have leftovers ready in the fridge. I use my slow cooker once a week on days where I have no time to prepare food later. We usually have something fun on a Saturday like pizza that I can make with my little boy. It also means that I can look at the whole month to ensure my family is getting a nutritionally balanced diet.
How to meal plan:
- Sit down with your diary and work out when you will go shopping, what days you have time to cook and when you are too busy. You can then start to shape the week.
- Plan to reduce food waste. You can use fresh fruit and vegetables early on in the week after you have shopped and have frozen, dried and canned later on. We have set days where we have big dish meals which are usually “one pot” meals which produce leftovers. When I cook meat I buy big as it’s cheaper per kg and use it all up through the week. If there are ever excess leftovers I freeze them and eat them up when we need them. Or have a night where we just use up things in the freezer.
- Look at what your dietary requirements are. For example, we have 2 small boys so getting good sources of iron into their diets is important, also I always try to have 1 portion of oily fish per week as well as another portion of white fish. I also want to make sure our diets are high in fruit, vegetables and plenty of fibre. Everything can be catered for in your meal plan.
- Decide on how long you want the plan to be for. I like a 4 week plan as it means we don’t get bored with meals coming round too fast. It takes a couple of hours to design them but it’s worth it!
Every week I write the meal plan into my diary and write a shopping list from it. I can then look at what’s coming up and change days around if necessary. Sometimes I don’t fancy something that is coming up or I can’t cook so I’ll arrange something else.If you’re going out for a meal you can just omit one meal off the week.
For shopping you can keep the recipes handy, check what you already have in and work out what to buy. I also have a “basics” shopping list that I refer to so that I don’t forget things that we eat every day.
It works really well for us and saves me a lot of time and money. We all have such busy lives, meal plans are one way of reducing the load.
I hope this blog has inspired you and given you some tips. If you don’t have time to create your own meal plan please see my meal plan page to see if you’d like me to provide one for you.