Meal planning can seem like a daunting task, but I can assure you , taking 5 to 10 minutes to plan the meals for the week ahead can really take a load off the stresses and struggles of a normal week.
Each week prior to our grocery shop, I get my trusty meal planner out (you can purchase yours from here and get 10% off with the code MP10 ) and I write 5 to 6 meals down I like. Its at this point I involve my family (and husband) . From there I look in the pantry, fridge and freezer and write the shopping list of things we need – along with the staples of course – milk, eggs, bread, yoghurt etc.
Meal planning can help…
- Make the weekly struggles in a busy household a wee bit easier
- Save time in planning, preparation and shopping (especially if you need to take children with you to the supermarket)
- Save money as you wont be buying unnecessary items
- Use up your meat from the freezer
- Reduce food wastage
- Ensure variety in family meals
- Have an answer to the daily question from husbands or children “what’s’ for dinner ?”
- Eat better as a family
Here are my top tips to help you plan below
#1. Sit down and look for 6 or so recipes , or meals for the week you know the family will enjoy- Keep it simple and remember to store the recipes or meal names that work for planning in the weeks ahead. Maybe try one new dish a week?
#2 Get your children involved with meal choices. They are more likely to eat a wider variety of dishes and foods if they are involved in the planning and preparation process
#3 Plan and buy seasonal fruit and vegetables. Buy doing this your food will be as fresh and as nutrient dense as possible – not to mention as cheap as possible. Click here for a NZ seasonality chart
#4 Grocery shop with your list or shop online- that way you will ONLY end up with things you need in your trolley therefore saving money
#5 Take into account the weather , no-one feels like a roast or soup on a hot blue sky day.
#6 Prepare your meals at any spare moment . If you can do some chopping and getting the meat out of the freezer early in the day, or when the children sleep you are half way there. I get my toddler to help me start to prepare dinner around 4pm . Him helping me actually makes it easier because he is involved he is interested.
#7 As soon as you notice you need something or have run out, add it to your shopping list . This will save you wracking your brains come Sunday about that one thing you knew you needed but cant remember
#8 Keep your plan flexible . You want to be able to have takeaways or people for dinner if you feel like it so don’t structure it too much. You can always use the meat you got out from the freezer the next night. Planning for just 5 or 6 nights give you room to move or to have a pizza or eggs on toast night.
#10 Use MY FOODIE FAMILIE’S MEAL PLANNER . It makes it all easier ! A shopping list and weekly meal plan at your finger tips , 52 tear off pages with magnets to stick the whole thing to the fridge.