I’d better admit it now: I love planning. I am the kind of person who adds things to their to do list that they’ve already done, just for the satisfaction of crossing them off again. So you probably don’t need to be as meticulous as me when it comes to meal planning. However, planning can really help and is worth even just a 10 minute scribble before you go shopping.
– You’ll always come home from work with a plan for what to eat, and the right ingredients in the kitchen. So no excuses to get an emergency takeaway.
– You’ll find you eat more exciting and different meals, because you take a bit of time to think about it and don’t end up eating the same thing every day.
– You only have to do one shopping trip, instead of going in every day to pick up the things you forgot yesterday.
– Save time by planning in your leftovers and using common elements across multiple meals.
– Save money by only buying what you need.
Top tips for great meal planning:
– Batch cook meals to keep in the freezer, for quick and easy midweek options. These are also great for keeping your plan flexible: if you’re unexpectedly missing a meal you can keep this in the freezer and shuffle your fresh meals around so you don’t waste anything.
– Plan in leftovers and extras. For example have the same side 2 days apart with different meals, or use the same meat base a second day or for lunch.
– Use the time you have to prep meals for busier days. For example I’ll usually cook Monday’s dinner on Sunday, because I know I’ll be home late and want something to shove in the oven.
– Think about snacks at the same time. If you want something easy to take to work then make jerky/dried fruit etc, and make sure enough fruit is on your list.
– Be flexible. If you see a great deal in the supermarket, shuffle things around a bit and keep a few things in the freezer.
– Bookmark and save any recipes you like the look of. Evernote is particularly good for this! Keep this on hand when you’re planning meals for some easy inspiration.
– If you find yourself eating the same meals every week, try getting a meat box. I find this prevents boredom as it forces me to come up with new ideas for meat I’ve never cooked before or would never buy if left to my own devices.
– Write a list of everything you have in the freezer. Then you don’t forget about anything that’s buried in there.