Meal planning is such a fantastic way to eat healthy & save so much time!
The fact that it helps you plan your daily meals, prepare ingredients & limit any last minute stops at the grocery store should be enough to encourage everyone to start meal planning. This module looks at the process closely so you can begin successfully meal planning.
Having a list ready of your favourite meals is super handy! You can refer to it whenever you’re stuck on a meal idea & you can add to it if the inner MasterChef learns a new recipe. Also because people’s food tastes differ & allergies are common, you can note which family members will not or cannot eat certain ingredients or meals.
Making shopping lists is where you save so much time & money. If you follow it precisely there’ll be no need for last-minute rushes to the shops. Listing items by category (eg. frozen foods, dairy, drinks) save time when you’re in the store looking for items. Also, it allows you to budget by eliminating the purchases of unnecessary items because if it’s not on the list, you’re not buying it!
Another idea is to place your shopping list somewhere you can add to it as you run out of items, such as the fridge (or side of the fridge if you prefer clutter-free fridge doors) or somewhere visible in your pantry.
Grocery shopping is the part where you’ve got to really commit to your shopping list & only buy what’s written on there. This means ignoring any super specials on items you don’t need or use & looking away from impulse items we see closer to the cashier. One easy way is to not shop when we’re hungry & to shop for groceries online if your store offers it, which is another time-saving option.
Allocating meals is not as simple as selecting a day & picking a meal, instead, you need to also factor days when you’re not at home to cook (e.g. at work) or any dinner invites or travel schedules. Once you’ve worked that out it’s easier to know what meals to allocate when.
For example, whenever I work outside the home & will be home at dinner time, I make sure that I make a meal for that work day, which means I still get to enjoy a healthy, homemade meal.
Preparing ingredients is super important as this is also where a lot of the time saving is. Rather than prepping ingredients each day before cooking, you can dedicate 1-2 hours to prepare the ingredients needed for the next week’s meals. You’d have to know exactly which way to cut any meats & vegetables, as different meals need different cutting styles. Once you’ve done that you can then keep them fresh in labelled storage containers in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.