Meal planning. Daunting, right? We have all battled with the thought of sitting down to do a meal plan for the upcoming week!
‘Where do I even start?’ is a question I’m often asked when talking to people about meal planning and organization. Understandably so. There are so many ‘rules’ these days about eating healthy and if that’s not stressful enough, add other factors like family member taste preferences, after school activities and social events – meal planning can seem like a challenge!
But, meal planning doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore of ‘eating healthy’. It doesn’t have to be time consuming and it doesn’t have to be daunting! All you need to do is follow these five quick steps, and voila, you have a weekly dinner meal plan.
Step one: Make the time
Find (or make) a spare 15 minutes on your weekend or during the week to think about the upcoming week. This spare time can be found in-between commercial breaks, while watching Netflix or while sitting outside enjoying the sunshine – remember, you don’t have to do this at the dining table!
Step two: Schedule the week
Schedule into your meal plan family and social events. Knowing what you are doing in the next week for dinner is handy, especially when it comes to shopping, plus it will minimize food waste. Win’s all around.
Step three: Gain perspective
Highlight the dinners you will be eating out of the house in one colour. These are the dinners you do not need to worry about in your weekly dinner meal plan. It is also worthwhile to think about after work scheduled activities, to consider whether you have time to cook a meal or not. If you think you will not have time to cook a meal from scratch, put an asterisk on that day. These are the days where left overs, ‘throw’ together or failsafe meals are a good option.
Step four: Add in favorite meals and a new meal you would like to try
Adding your family’s favorite meals is a great way to start planning meals. Want to try a new recipe that you have been meaning to cook? Great, schedule it in. It is best to schedule these meals on a day where you are not pressed for time.
Step five: Re-purposing
Repurposing ingredients from the night before is a simple way to cut down on cooking time and preparation.
- Cooking extra chicken on Monday night and storing in a container for Tuesday night will cut cooking time, preparation and effort.
- Use left-over meats in wraps.
- Chop vegetables in bulk and store in an air tight container in the fridge. Alternatively, use frozen vegetables. They are just as nutritious as raw vegetables, and can be quickly thrown into meals.
There you have it. Five simple steps to a more organised and less stressful week. Want to get a head start? You can download the weekly meal planner we use at the Hub here : Weekly Meal Planner Template