I am currently in the process of writing my next eBook which is all about getting your home organised. One of the chapters will be dealing with meal planning. I believe that it is a very important part of feeling in control and being organised when you know what you’re going to serve that day. Not being in control means you go into a tail spin every time you hear the eternal question: What’s for dinner? You could play it cool, and reply with a shrug of the shoulders and say “Whatever YOU’re cooking!”, and yes, I have done that before. Other options include unhealthy take-out meals, expensive eating out or a panic buying session in the supermarket, where you spend way more than you had budgeted for.
But how about you actually had a plan since you have taken up meal planning. And trust me when I say: it’s not rocket science. Honestly. It’s fairly straight forward if you take a few things into consideration. These are:
- your budget
- what does everyone like to eat
- your schedule
Here’s my suggestion of how to go about putting together a meal plan that takes these things into consideration.
No 1 – Your budget
If you have to watch your pennies, planning your meals will save you a lot of money. Eating out and take-outs are way more expensive than home cooked meals. [And the few that aren't are packed so full of rubbish that you really wouldn't want to touch them with a barge pole, let alone put them in your body.]
If you plan in advance what you’re going to make, you can make use of special offers, you have less food waste and can buy certain things in bulk, since you know you’re going to use them up.
No 2 – What does everyone like to eat
The way I organised my meal planning, I started with a family meeting, where everyone put together a list of their favourite foods. I asked everyone to write down 10 meals they liked – fast food was not an option. On my own list I also put trying a new recipe (which I enjoy doing), and a couple of quick and easy meals I know everyone likes, in addition to my own favourite meals. The key here is, that everyone has to eat whatever is being served on that day, since the next day, it could be their favourite food that was on the menu. These lists are then used to create a weekly meal plan, now and again add a family favourite fast food options or going out as a treat or an easier option for a very busy day.
No 3 – Your schedule
Some days you will have more time to prepare meals than on others, these days are great for the meals that take a little bit more effort. Some days are very busy and you only have a small window of opportunity to get everyone round the table. Those days are great to put on your slow cooker in the morning and simply serve when it’s time to eat. Or use one the quick and easy meals or treat the family to the odd take-out. But from now on take-outs only need to be the last resort, not the first thing you think about.
Once you have put your weekly plan together, create a shopping list and head off to the shops.
And there you have it, meal planning quick and simple. And it works.
If you think you could with a bit of help with this, why not check out a website I discovered a while back. It’s Leanny Ely’s Saving Dinner where you can sign up for the Menu Mailer, a weekly menu plan complete with shopping list. The recipes are easy and straight forward and make delicious meals.
If you want help with creating your own menu plan, why not get in touch – Menu Planning is part of my services.