To get the most out of eating healthy and buying real foods you need to be organized. The best way to get your family on track is to create a meal plan at the beginning of each week (Sundays are great). You can simply download my Meal Planner Printable to get you on your way. For now let’s focus on how to make meal planning easy for you.
For the first time meal planners I highly recommend that you break down each night of the week into a theme. I always start with dinners and work out simple meals for during the week. For example
Monday – Stir Fries – This is so great for the first day back at work and can usually be a 30 min meal
Tuesday – Meat & Three Veg – This classic can be recreated in so many ways.
Wednesday – Rice – Think of Asian style dishes that go great with rice, pork, chicken, eggs or a left over fried rice.
Thursday – Italian – Whip up a simple pasta or slow cook some chicken along with olives and lemons. Perhaps even try making your own pizzas
Friday – Nibbles – We often might make skewers with salad, burgers, pizza or even a few bits and bobs as a platter for sharing.
Saturday – OPEN – I like to leave this one free, to create or even take the family out for dinner.
Sunday – Roast – Think about lunches, get yourself some meat and veggies. Leftovers can be turned into sandwiches or salads for work or school lunch boxes.
While you are planning your menu think about what are your favourite meals, that you love or your family love. Write a list of the dishes that you make the most and see what themes rise up. If you make pasta a few times a week, put it as a theme for your dinners. It is best also to keep all your favourite recipes together so they are easy to get a hold of.
I usually keep Saturdays as my creative day. This is the day I have more time to spend in my kitchen. Which means I can experiment with new recipes and foods or I can be lazy and just eat leftovers from the week. I often find that Saturdays tend to be more of a social day with friends and family and require only one dish of cooking and who knows what that might be, do I bring a salad, dessert or something meaty.
Variety isn’t everything. Think about your meals, what can be cooked up then frozen or packed the next day as lunch. Cooking once and feeding yourself twice is a brilliant way to save time and save money. For us the Sunday roast is cooked up, let’s say its chicken. We would then pluck all the meat off the carcass for sandwiches or salads during the week. The bones would get boiled up and turned into soup. If you are cooking a pasta dish you could make enough for lunches for the whole family the next day.
When meal planning the final thing you must consider is what ingredients you are using. Doubling up buying bulk of certain types of food can save you money. Meat and veggies can be expensive so plan well, if you can buy your carrots in bulk do so and then add them into each of your meal planned dinners.
Meal planning should not be frightening or overwhelming. It is to make your life easier, give it a try for a week and see how you go. If you like you can try one of my own meal plans.