I have no idea how I lived without meal planning!
Once upon a time, I used to just totally wing it. I’d simply decide what to eat on the day, dash to the shops after work, cook and sit down to eat around 6.30-7.00pm. Or, we would conveniently visit our parents at dinner time (thanks mum!).
Now as a time-poor mum however, that method is completely out the window! Weekly meal planning saves me A LOT of time and effort and ensures there’s no running to the shops at 5pm with two hungry and tired kids.
So, what are my top tips for meal planning?
Meal Planning Tip 1 – Create a Main Meal List
Write out a list of all the dinners you and your family enjoy. It can be as simple as a list in a notebook or as detailed as a recipe folder. You can break it down into categories (i.e. pastas, soups, chicken dishes, lamb dishes etc.) or sort your list according to quick meals, and more time-consuming meals. The choice is yours!
Meal Planning Tip 2 – Check Your Weekly Schedule
Go over your commitments for the week. This will help to determine what type of meal is required for that day. Do you need something quick and easy to prepare? Or do you have the luxury of time to cook up a delicious roast?
Meal Planning Tip 3 – Ask the Kids
This is a great tip! Allowing the kids to select a meal one night of the week means there’s a higher chance that they will actually eat what’s put in front of them. (Granted it’ll probably be pasta but if it means empty plates, it’s a win for everyone!)
Meal Planning Tip 4 – Commit Yourself to a Time
Set yourself a day and time that will forever be your weekly/fortnightly/monthly planning time. For me, its Sunday morning right before I head off to buy our meat and fruit and veg for the week. Turning up ensures you are more likely to stick to the habit of creating a regular meal plan.
Meal Planning Tip 5 – Reuse Your Meal Plans
Don’t throw away your meal plans! Refer back to them so you can see when you last cooked a particular dish. Better yet, use them as a source of inspiration for when you are struggling to come up with some meal ideas.
Meal Planning Tip 6 – Challenge Yourself to New Recipes
Select one night a week or fortnight that is set aside for creating a new meal. If it tastes amazing, you’ll have one more dish to add to the rotation!
Meal Planning Tip 7 – Shop Online
Organise a grocery delivery. It is a game changer! Not only does it reduce impulse buying, it also means you can meal plan around the sales.
I’d love to know some of your meal planning tips. Let me know below!