Meal planning= Time saving= Money saving
I used to think that meal planning was for those with too much time on their hands and who were well, a bit annally retentive. Then I became a parent! I realised that the derision that I had levelled at meal planning was at best misguided and at worst foolish.
There are a number of reasons that one might consider meal planning they are:
Saving money: Meal planning saves money as long (as you don't go shopping on an empty stomach!) If you plan your meals and and write a grocery list before you arrive at the supermarket you will save money on impulse purchases and on those meal ideas which seem like a good idea at the shop, but at 5pm on a Thursday night seem like to much effort.
Saving time: Planning meals in advance means that you can make meals ahead of time, saving time on the night of the meal. It also saves arguments over what to make on the night as it is already pre-planned. Time is saved as only one trip to the supermarket is required per week. If extra food is made time is also saved in making lunches also adding a money saving element as food will not need to be bought for work.
Healthy eating: If you like me find it difficult to eat responsibly, meal planning may also be your health savior! You can plan meals that are more healthy by including more vegetables and less fat. To do this effectively it is important not to shop when you are hungry.
Making meal planning work for you
- Use a diary for your meal planning
- Create a list of meals that you like to make and rotate through them
- have enough different recipes so that you don't get bored of the meals that you have planned. To avoid boredom try not to have the same meal on the same day of the week.
- go shopping on the same day of the week
- take into account specials and plan meals to take advantage of these
- Use your freezer judiciously,be aware of what is in there at all times
- Write down items that you are getting low in at the time you notice so that you don't forget them on the day that you shop
- create extra for lunches
- Use meal planning to try different meals
- Try and eat fish once a week
- be aware that you may have to buy extra fruit during the week
- Aim for 5 veggies and 2 fruit each day per person
- Use cheap cuts of meat and cook them for longer
- Chicken is often the cheapest meat, so plan meals around this.
- If you have a food processor... you have a mincer. I use my food processor to mince chicken and pork to make burgers.
- Make your own Chili sauce, it may be cheaper and you can control the amount of sugar you add.
- Allow some indulgences every so often. We have take out once a week on Fridays, as I like to have a break from cooking.
- Plan for healthy snacking Eg fruit
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