Meal planning 101

Deciding what to cook  can be a stressful activity for many.  Late afternoon heralds the time to head to the kitchen to try to decide what to cook. You open the pantry and stand there staring, waiting for the food to jump out and scream “cook me!”. Of course it doesn’t, so you then head over to the fridge to see if it’s going to cooperate better. Nope; it’s silent as well, not being very helpful at all. It happens in households everywhere!

Meal planning takes the stress out of deciding what to cook, as well as providing other benefits, and this is how it works:

  1. Clean out the fridge and take stock of what needs to be used
  2. Do the same in the pantry
  3. Refer to your recipes and old favourites and write a list of all the meals you’re going to have for the week and assign them a day.  It helps to include the whole family; everyone can choose a favourite meal to include (and it helps to have finicky toddlers choose some meals, or at least which day they’re on, because they’re more likely to then eat it without fuss – I know this from personal experience!)
  4. Write the meals on the family calendar, or on a note on the fridge
  5. Write your shopping list based on the ingredients for each meal
  6. Add in other extras such as lunch foods and cleaning products
  7. Shop with purpose (no impulse buying!)
  8. Enjoy the freedom of knowing what’s for dinner each night.

Another great habit to do is every sixth week or so, buy only fresh fruit and vegetables, bread and dairy, and plan the week’s meals based on what’s in the pantry. It helps keep the volume of food down and you can maintain a more organised pantry as well as reducing wastage.

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Comments

  1. Great ideas – also check out the Simply Savings site and their book $21 Challenge for some really excellent ideas on meal planning, using up bits and pieces, planning ahead and living on very little. Many fabulous ideas from the many members.

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