7 Tips for Meal Planning Success

Meal planning, when done well can be a huge asset in our busy homelives.

Not everyone is blessed with the culinary skills of a celebrity chef, and for many of us cooking is just something we have to do.

If you fall into the latter camp and hate cooking, then meal planning can really help you take the pressure out of it.

Here are 7 tips for meal planning success.

Take Inventory

Before planning your meals for the week, it helps to know what food you’ve already got in.

Not only will this reduce your shopping bill, but it means less food waste by using up what you have.

Go through your fridge, freezer and cupboards and make a list of what you have in.

From this list, you’ll be able to come up with meal ideas more easily and know what you need to shop for.

Brainstorm Family Favourites

Meal planning doesn’t mean you have to come up with new and exciting ideas every week. (Though of course you’re free to do that too if you want to!)

Grab a pen and a notebook and write down the meals that you already make regularly.

What are your family favourites?

What always gets eaten?

Which meals do you turn to for convenience?

Having a ‘recipe bank’ will save you time when wondering what on earth to make this week…

Don’t Overcomplicate It

If you know you’re not the most adventurous or experienced cook, don’t set yourself for failure by including complicated recipes you’ve never tried before.

Keep it simple and look for meals that require minimal advanced prep and include ingredients that you usually have in anyway.

Don’t choose recipes that require a pinch of a spice you’ll use once or a joint of meat that requires 24 hours marinating following by 8 hours slow cooking.

Meal planning done well should complement your lifestyle and make things easier. It shouldn’t be an added stressor.

Treats are Okay

If you usually rely on takeaways a lot, you’re probably not going to successfully manoeuvre to a full week of home cooking overnight.

Instead, plan for a night off when you allow yourself a treat.

This way, it actually becomes something you look forward to again with the added bonus of a night off cooking for you.

Use the Slow Cooker

Some nights we are just too tired to cook an entire meal from scratch.

Rather than resorting to convenience foods or takeaways, be your future friend and utilise the slow cookers on days you know you’ll be too busy to cook.

There are so many recipes you can choose from which just require all the ingredients tossed into the pot and put on low for 8 hours – no prep necessary, but a nice hearty meal waiting for the family when you get home.

Cook Double and Freeze It

Another great timesaver is cooking in larger quantities and freezing half to use another night.

This works great for sauce based meals such as bolognese and pasta dishes, curries and stews.

Just remember to take your frozen batch out to thaw in the fridge the night before.

Have a Failsafe

Sometimes things happen that are outside our control and they just don’t go to plan.

On these nights it could be easy to just order something in.

Instead, save your budget and have a few easy and quick meals in the freezer.

A frozen pizza is a great treat that takes 10 minutes in the oven.

You could serve with a simple salad and garlic bread for a filling treat meal the whole family will enjoy.


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