There often doesn’t seem like enough hours in the day. Planning your meals, grocery lists and budget can take a huge amount of that stress away because there is no daily wondering what to cook, everything has already been planned and organised.
Meal planning does not have to mean you eat the same meal every Tuesday or that you can never try anything new, it simple means you need to plan for it. ‘I also meal plan. It is awesome and I have saved nearly R3,000 per month not popping into Woolies on my way home from work every day.” Says Rebecca
We have a few tips on how you can make meal planning easy.
- Print out a monthly view calendar so you can see the entire month at a glance. Add in any events that may affect dinner time – example soccer practice until 17h30 or your husband is away. Cross off weekends where you won’t be home for meals.
- Start with those nights where you will be home late or have limited time, add quick and easy meals that you know your family will eat. There are two ways you can plan the remaining days; you can add actual meals like “Chicken a la king” or you can simply put chicken and then decide on the day what you want to make.
- Try and include chicken, fish and a red meat every week.
- Stick to quick meals that don’t require much preparation especially if you are working.
- Add new recipes on days you know you will have enough time. Keep the recipes that the family enjoyed.
- Ask your family what meals they like or what meals they would like to try.
- If you have children at school who need lunch add those to the meal plan.
Once you have a meal for every day you can make your grocery list accordingly.
- Add only the meat you have on your meal plan – for example if you have 6 days of chicken and you have a 4 person family, add 24 pieces of chicken.
- If you are going to try out new recipes make sure you add the ingredients to the list.
- Make a weekly list for fresh vegetables and fruit.
- Add everything you need for each meal, you can remove duplicates at the end.
- Before you go shopping, check your cupboard to see what you already have to avoid unnecessary spending.
- Shopping online helps to make sure you don’t add in unnecessary items to your trolley if you are working with a tight budget. It is also a lot more convenient and less time consuming than going to the shops.
Meal planning can be a fun way to get the whole family involved in deciding what youeaand it can take the stress out of daily cooking.
Laura is a mom to four which means she spends most of her day driving kids from one activity to the next. She lives in Pretoria with her husband, the kids, a dog and a bird. Laura blogs over at HarassedMom (www.harassedmom.co.za) and runs a small party planning business (www.journey2joy.co.za), Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Journey2Joy/10150128530740425 and twitter https://twitter.com/Journey2Joy
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