If you already plan your meals in advance then this post probably isn’t for you but if you don’t you really should read on because planning your meals will save you time and money every single week!
1) I don’t have time!
OK, I get that meal planning can take a little bit of time once a week but it’s totally worth it for the time you save during the rest of the week.
I spend about twenty minutes on a Sunday morning having a quick look at what food we already have in and writing a meal plan based on that which I then use to write my shopping list.
That extra time on a Sunday morning makes my shopping easier because I know exactly what I need to make every meal on my plan. This in turn saves me time because I have everything in that I need so aside from a quick top up shop through the week, I don’t need to pop to the shop for anything else which is a good thing as I never buy just the thing I go for when I shop. 😉
I save more time every night when I need to start preparing tea as I know exactly what we’re having – no standing staring aimlessly into the cupboards trying to decide for me! I just check the plan and start cooking.
2) I never know what we’re going to want to eat in advance!
I get this, I really do because we’re exactly the same.
Your meal plan doesn’t have to list the meals you’re eating on which exact day, it could simply be a list of seven meals that you’re going to eat that week. That way you can choose what you’re going to have that night from that list and have more choice.
Also, if you have a good store cupboard then you can often mix up the meals anyway, keeping the main ingredient. I have a drawer in my freezer for things like frozen rice (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it), frozen chopped opinions, chilli, garlic, frozen sliced peppers, frozen mixed veg and even frozen homemade tomato sauce. Last week we planned a chicken casserole but it was such a lovely day that we decided to go with homemade fajitas instead so I just grabbed some peppers and onions and cooked them up with the chicken in some fajita seasoning. I made homemade flat breads and served it with some slimming world chips (from the potatoes I was planning to make mash with) and it was amazing. The main ingredients that I’d bought for the casserole were still used but I used different things from my store cupboard to turn it into a different meal.
3) It’s too much effort!
See number 1.
I genuinely think that a little effort once a week is so worth it for the time and money savings that you’ll see if you do start to meal plan. And it does get quicker and easier as you go along as you get used to it.
I even have a meal planning recipe bank now to make it even quicker and even though that took me about half an hour to set up initially, it saved so much time when I’m planning that the half an hour I spent putting it together was well worth it!
4) My family don’t stick to it!
I’m not, and never will be, one of those parents with the ‘you’ll eat what I cook’ mentality – that might work for some people but not for me. But I do expect some support from the rest of my family to help me stick to our meal plans because ultimately, it’s saving money for us all.
I don’t serve meals that I know they won’t enjoy (although I do often add in something that they’ve never tried) and I ask for their help when choosing meals. I then usually write them up on a meal planner which I display on the kitchen wall so they know exactly what’s coming when.
I’m not a perfect parent though and I have a drawer in the freezer that has things like fish fingers, chicken dippers and mini waffles for the odd night where they don’t fancy what I’ve cooked or when they’re not around for tea and don’t fancy warmed up whatever we had. We have an airfryer that they can use to make their freezer tea as we call it but I try and make sure they don’t have more than one of these meals a week.
I also get them involved in cooking so one night a week they can choose a meal that they want to cook. We haven’t done this over the Summer but now they’re back at school then this will start up again. Although I do try and steer them, I don’t necessarily look at what we already in have in for these meals as it’s all about encouraging them to enjoy cooking so I’ll happily buy whatever they need if they have a new recipe to try.
5) What’s the point?
The point is that you save time and money EVERY week by planning your family’s meals. I can’t emphasise just how easy it is to meal plan and just how big the benefit of it is.
Honestly, try it for one month and see how much you save!
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