Meal planning made super simple
For some of us, a strict meal plan can work wonders, having each meal planned out in advance and allocated to a day. But for others, such a detailed meal plan just doesn’t fit into everyday life. What if you decide on a whim to go out for dinner, or just don’t feel like cooking that night? A much easier way, and the way I personally meal plan, is to plan out the weeks meals, but don’t allocate them to a day just yet. If this sounds like your meal planning style, read on.
Create your list of meals
When you start to think about the week’s meals, pull out a few of your favourite cookbooks. Have a look through and pick out the meals you feel like making over the coming week. You might feel like making one meal something you have been wanting to try but haven’t got around to, a few favourites meals, and then add in one or two meals that are super easy for the nights when you really don’t feel like cooking. If you have meals ready to go in the freezer, you can use these saving you fro having to cook at all.
While you are planning your meals, make sure you plan any sides needed for these meals too. A little tip, when creating your list of meals, write down the book and page number of the recipe. I have spent so much time planning meals, then forgetting where to find the recipe amongst my huge stash of cookbooks.
Create your shopping list
While you are creating your meal list, have your shopping list handy to add any ingredients you need to make each meal. While creating both lists, skim your fridge, freezer and pantry to make sure you don’t already have the ingredients handy. This will save you doubling up.
It also helps to check the week’s supermarket specials as you write your list, so you can note down any particular brands that might be on special. Bonus points if the ingredients you need are on sale, but don’t free if they are not. A great way to incorporate weekly specials into your meal plan is to plan your sides around the fruit & veg specials.
Why this meal plan is so easy
Notice we haven’t created an actual meal plan at this point, as in the usual write a meal under each day of the week style plan? This is what makes it so simple. You have your meal list handy, so each morning (or even afternoon), just skim your list and pick which meal you feel like making based on what you crave that day and the activities you have planned. Nothing is set in stone, so it’s gives you room to base that night meal on the sort of day you are having.
How will it save me money?
Planning out your meals this way means less food wastage, because you are only buying the ingredients that you need. If you are short on money in any particular week, you can plan your meals around the ingredients already in the house. You will also likely not eat out as much, because you already have all the ingredients needed to make meals ready to go.
How do you meal plan?
This meal plan won’t suit everyone, but if you haven’t meal planned before, it’s a great way to get started. Let us know in the comments below, how do you meal plan?