Each week I plan my meals for the following week, this is called meal or menu planning. It sounds intimidating, but it really is a simple task that takes 5-10 minutes to plan 1 week of meals.
Do you want to try meal planning but not sure where to start? Use a Meal Planner to help get you started.
How to use the meal planner:
- Laminate & use a whiteboard marker so you can re-use each week; or
- Create copies and file in a binder to repeat meals each month or so.
- Place on the fridge for easy access and family to see.
How to plan meals:
- Download this FREE family favourite recipes and write down all your families favourite meals. This will be an easy reference when you can’t think of something to cook.
- Nearly every family has after school activities during the week. Organise your menu around the activities knowing you can start dinner throughout the day to have it ready in time when you get home (I love my slow cooker), or perhaps an easy meal is required on these nights.
- Glance through your fridge and pantry, are there any food that may need to be cooked soon?
- Have a look through the grocery junk mail and plan your meals around the meats and veg that are on special, this will help reduce your grocery bill.
- Perhaps you may cook up a double batch and you have left overs for the next day, don’t forget to include this in your planner.
- Now complete the planner with meals you would like to cook. Don’t forget you can get some great meal ideas HERE from my blog. I post my week of meals each Monday.
- Next write your grocery list then your ready to hit the grocery store!! View more details here about The Organised Housewife Grocery List.
Benefits of Meal Planning
By creating a grocery list from your meal plan you will purchase only food required for the week, therefore having no quick trips to the store
As you aren’t returning to the grocery shop as often which is always when you buy the things you ‘think’ you need. By sticking to a plan and grocery list, you will resist impulse spending. Look at the current local grocery catalogue and organising your meals and snacks around the items on special for the week. Planning will also eliminate the desire to buy takeway.
By glancing in the fridge/pantry and planning to use unused or left over food you are eliminating waste and again saving money. Eg. lettuce, can be used with taco’s this week or pasta packets in the pantry can be a side dish to some fish.
Create healthy meals
Planning menus for the week will allow you to choose a variety of food options. You can ensure you are eating enough fish and red meat. Not having too much pasta and eating plenty of vegetables.
Remember to include family favourites as you will know they will be happy and more likely to eat for you.
Cook in bulk
If you know you are going to be busy one particular night, prepare a meal the night before that could be stretched into 2 meals. Eg, savoury mince with potato and vegetables for dinner one night, and easy mince triangles, spaghetti bol or mince on toast the next night.
Lower your frustrations
How many times have you stepped in front of the fridge frustrated considering what’s for dinner tonight, what do we feel like and not have it alll on hand. Have it planned and ingredients purchase will make your whole evening run smoother.
Reuse meal plans
Once you have menu planned for a few weeks you can even start re-using your plans so you don’t have to keep thinking of new ideas.
By planning your meals around your afternoon activities (slow cookers are perfect for these day’s) you are more likely not to eat out knowing you have dinner at home…saving you money and choosing a healthier option.
Place your menu on the fridge. If your late home from work or still out at sporting activities or work but hubby’s home early he can make a start on dinner for you. He has no excuses!
Get your meal planner here
Happy Meal Planning!