Food, Lifestyle, Recipes

Beginners Guide to Meal Planning

There’s something about meal planning which makes you feel like a proper adult who has their shit together. Like knowing what you are going to eat for dinner, IN ADVANCE. Mind blowing. But also time and money saving so win win! I am not saying I am at all perfect at meal planning but I know that when I have a busy week ahead, meal planning really does save stress and time.

So… where to start? First of all, let me say that meal planning does not have to look like a bodybuilders kitchen. You don’t have to have all of your food in Tupperware containers stacked nicely on each shelf! You can, if that’s your thing, but it doesn’t have to be like that.

If you are completely stuck on where to start, hopefully this will help!

WHAT DO YOU HAVE ON THIS WEEK?

The best way to start is to ask yourself what kind of week you have?
Do you have meetings at work which will keep you late?
Dinner date with someone?
Uni Lecture that you have to attend?
Ask yourself all these questions before you even start trying to plan meals. Once you have an idea of how many nights you will be eating in and what kind of time you will get home to do so, then you can start planning the meals.

MAKE A MEAL LIST

If you are anything like me, you probably have a tonne of rarely used recipe books lying around collecting dust. Time to get these bad boys out, along with the help of Google to find what you want to eat for the week!
Bookmark the ones you find online in a favourites tab & sticky note the ones in your recipe books so they are easy to find later.
However, don’t plan to make a new meal every night of the week. Maybe decide on one or two new recipes to try that week and keep the rest to either recipes you already know or things that can be easily thrown together if plans change.

On this note also, don’t just plan dinner. Decide on Breakfasts, Snacks and Lunch too!

SHOPPING LIST

This part is really important if you don’t want to end up buying the whole store. Once you have decided on the meals you are having for the week, sit down and make a list of ingredients (keeping in mind what you might already have in the fridge, freezer and pantry!).

The great thing nowadays is that a lot of supermarkets have the option for online shopping. This can be really helpful if you don’t have time, a car or other resources to do a big shop. They also tend to hold your saved shopping list so that next time it is easier!

MAKING TIME

Have you put any meals on your list that require extra time for making? If its going to take 15 mins to prep, 45 minutes to cook and 5 minutes to dish up, that can be a lot of time to spontaneously have in the evening.

PREPPING TIME

I always try to put time aside on a Sunday to meal prep anything that I think I won’t have time for during the week. For example, I know that some of the meals I make during the week won’t have leftovers for lunch, so I will make a batch of either egg & bacon muffins or salmon cakes (from my last blog post) to keep in the fridge/freezer for lunches that week. It saves time having to rush and make sandwiches in the AM!
Also if you have time on a Sunday to cut up a bunch of veg, wash all of the various things, cut potato into wedges, make Zoodles etc just do it, you will thank yourself during the week when you get home tired and can not be bothered!

MEAL PLANNING ACCESSORIES

Being organised is the KEY to successful meal planning. I like to have a ‘Weekly Meal Planner” stuck onto the fridge, a shared note in ‘Google Keep’ and many Tupperware boxes on hand for prepping and leftovers. Doing little things like this will really make your life a lot easier and the best thing, most of the things you need are not expensive. Just go to Kmart or Target! They all do the job the same.

ROUTINE

With anything in life, once you make meal planning part of your routine, it will be really easy and something you don’t even think about. I pretty much always know that we go grocery shopping at the farmers market & Woolworths on a Sunday morning (Saturday if I am working) so the evening before I will go through and make a meal plan & put together my shopping list. I will make time on the Sunday once we are home to spend an hour to two cooking & prepping. In reality it is about 3 hours out of my day to make my life less stressful during the week!

And that’s it! I hope this was helpful and if it was and you do use some of my tips, please let me know by either leaving a comment or DMing me on Insta! If you have a friend who you think would benefit from some of this advice, please pass this along! Sharing is caring.

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