What is meal planning?
Meal planning is not just about deciding what to eat one week at a time. It’s sooo much more than that. It can help organize your life (saving you time) and it can cut down on the amount of money you need to splash out at the supermarket.
A meal plan breaks down what you are going to eat for the amount of time you plan for.
So, say for your family you want to eat three times a day for 7 days a week. You would therefore plan for 7 breakfasts, lunches and dinners with enough to go around everyone.
Benefits of meal planning…
Here are just a few of the benefits of creating a meal plan:
- You can make sure you don’t have to be doing everything last minute in the kitchen, therefore saving you time.
- Everyone will know what they’ll be having for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, which should hopefully lead to fewer squabbles, especially if you get everyone involved in picking some family favorite meals.
- By knowing what you’re going to shop for in advance you can better plan your budget as know what you’ll need to spend (or if you need to adapt your meal plan to spend less).
- You will have less food waste and you’ll be able to make sure you buy and use what you’ll actually need.
Create a basic meal plan
There aren’t many steps to make sure you can get your meal plan off the ground:
- First off need a meal plan template.
- Then, work out what’s going on with your week. Do you all need lunches or do the kids get free school meals? Will you be working late one night? Are you out at a friend’s one evening so don’t need to cook? Are you planning a day trip so need to have a different kind of picnic lunch prepared, or will you eat out?
- Once you know the comings and goings of who’ll be eating it’s then time to start making meal plans. For breakfast, you may have one, two or three different options; toast, cereal, oats, eggs etc. Lunches may work out quite similar from day to day, but meals for dinners usually have more variety.
- When you know what you’re having day to day, simply write a list of all the ingredients you’ll need to buy so you can cook to your plan. Make sure to cost it out as you go to make sure you stay within your budget.
That is simply all meal planning is!
Content By: Naomi Willis
Get new Earthy Realist content delivered directly to your inbox.