What is meal planning?
Its organising meals you would like to cook yourself for the upcoming days or week, whether that be breakfast, lunch or dinner. Personally, it’s one of my favourite things to do at the weekend ready for the following week. I find it easier to ask myself “what’s for dinner” for the whole week, instead of every night!
Why Meal plan?
- Help keep costs low- only purchase what ingredients you need. If I don’t plan I am guilty of picking up extras on my shopping that I don’t need that are calorific with no or low nutritional value.
- Improves eating habits – spending time each week to plan your meals on your own or with family can increase the variety of foods you are eating as well as its nutritional quality whilst decreasing the amount of less nutritious foods you consume.
- Helps you reach goals – such as wanting to eat more wholemeal grains, introducing one meal free meal a week, eating seasonally or watching our weight.
- Promotes cooking at home– helps reduce the number of takeaways we might order, but gives us peace of mind in regards to what we are eating. We know exactly what ingredients are going into our meals, no hidden- salt, fat and sugars. Gives families a better opportunity to get everyone involved in cooking and learning new skills!
- Reduces the amount of food waste we produce– before I started to plan my meals, the amount of food I had to throw away at the end of the week because I had completely forgotten about it was unreal. Let’s protect our planet more.
Where to start?
Meal planning can seem overwhelming and hard work, but planning what you want to eat for the week means you are far more likely to eat in a way that will make you and your family happy compared to what you would if you didn’t plan!
Follow 3 simple steps to get you started:
- Choose meals that will leave you with some leftovers- the gift that keeps on giving- lunch tomorrow is now sorted.
- Choose recipes you know and love but mix it up by throwing in one recipe you’ve always wanted to try! Why not travel the world through your kitchen, try out different flavours and cuisines.
- Choose recipes that have common ingredients- helps saves money but also helps avoid food waste.
- TIP! Don’t forget to look at your calendar for things scheduled that week and think about the weather. You don’t want to be eating a stew or casserole when it’s beautifully warm and sunny outside
Shopping for ingredients- Start by making a master list of ingredients you will need for the week. Once you’ve done this, shop in your kitchen and cross off the ingredients you already have!
Prepping your meals – This is more optional… If you have a spare hour on Sunday- get batch cooking, save yourself time in the week by chopping and dicing herbs, garlic and vegetables ahead of time.
Give it a try! Happy Meal Planning 🙂