I love to meal plan. In my family I am in charge of the kitchen and to keep organised I meal plan. Meal planning means I can save time and money. To get started with meal planning there are plenty of recipes for quick easy meals to try here. However, meal planning can also include pre-packaged food, just so long as you have planned ahead and bought in what you need. If you are working full time it is not always practical to cook from scratch every day and so forward planning can help you select some good prepared foods that help you to balance the issue of saving both time, money and healthy eating in your kitchen.
Here are my top tips to get started with meal planning:
- Find out the weekly schedule for everybody in your family; see who will be eating at home on what days; see which days are busy and plan an easy meal to prepare.
- Look through the fridge/cupboards and see what there is to use, this will prevent duplicates being bought and keeps costs down.
- Write a list of 7 meals and, if lunch planning too, write a list of 7 lunch meals (or use an ilovemealplans.com meal plan from the meal plan page).
- Write a shopping list including all the things you need for your 7 meals plus extras such as cleaning products.
- Do one big shopping trip* and get everything you need, or make an online grocery order and have it delivered to your door.
*As a stay at home Mum I do one big weekly shop but leave some fresh items, such as salad, to bought throughout the week. Then later in the week I plan into my routine a trip to a local shop when it is convenient to buy a few fresh ingredients. If you plan ahead this can fit into an routine such as a trip to a shop on the way home from work, rather than arriving home and realising it is necessary to go out again to the shops.
If you use my 5 steps to meal planning you may find it helpful to use a meal plan chart and place it somewhere that everyone can see it. I have found an attractive free meal plan at this website: OlliBird.com