What is meal planning?
Meal planning is the way you choose to systemize your eating schedule. It’s the plan you make before you shop. You can either plan a weekly menu or a monthly menu. Some people don’t plan their meals at all and just shop on the go for whatever the day requires.
Are you a meal planner? Does your lifestyle demand that you plan your meals or is it easier for you to shop on a whim?
Meal planning is a personal decision and everyone has different needs. For me, meal planning is absolutely necessary. I have a family of four and I constantly need to be planning what we’re eating and when. I also have a budget that I am required to stick to – so shopping on a whim doesn’t work for me. I have two toddlers who at the drop of a hat or the flick of a switch can go from playing mode to hungry in the space of a split second – so having food ready and on hand is essential.
So, where do I begin?
Firstly, I keep a journal. At the beginning of every week, I plan my meals and jot down what I need for the week.
I try to plan my weekly meals at the beginning of every week. My planning covers the following information: I jot down my available budget for the week, what I have in the freezer e.g. chicken pieces, 2 x packs of chicken breasts, 1kg mince, bacon and some boerewors. I then jot down the pantry items that I could use to possibly make up a meal with all of my listed freezer items e.g. 5 x packets of pasta, rice, butternut, sweet potato, etc. So from this deduced list thus far I already know that I can make the following meals without having to spend a cent further: bbq chicken and veggie bake, spaghetti bolognaise, macaroni and cheese, chicken a la king, alfredo pasta, etc. I also often try and make one meal that I cook stretch over two dinner nights.
I don’t cook super fancy meals unless we have guests over or if it’s a special occasion. I keep weekday meals as simple as possible. I tend to spoil us a bit over the weekend with extra yummies such as milkshake and ice cream treats, takeaways, pizza, etc. Fridays are my no-cook nights, so we often grab something easy and light for supper on a Friday night and then Saturday always involves a sweet treat.
Below I have attached what my weekly menu layout looks like. If you’re not a fan of a food journal, you can try some meal planning printables. There are quite a few available online, e.g. Pinterest, which I will add below. You can find quite a few meal planning layouts to suit your weekly menu needs.
Meal planning pintables from Pinterest: you can also follow me on Pinterest for more ideas: Pinterest
Once your meal planning is done for the week, your week should look quite simple in terms of food preparation. Stick your meal planner on your fridge and you’re good to go for the rest of the week.
It’s that simple!
My 3 Meal Planning Tips:
- Write out a weekly meal plan
- Write in a food journal
- Write out your weekly budget
In my next blog post, I would like to look at ‘How much it costs to feed a family?‘ – please comment below and add your input on what works for you and your family and what your budget looks like. It would be great if we could share some recipe ideas, meal planning solutions and other affordable ideas to make feeding our tribes a little bit easier.
Enjoy your day further!