Following on from yesterdays post about the joy of Slow cookers, I thought I’d follow up with a post about meal planning.
Meal planning is one of the things that helps our family keep on track and stops us from reaching into the cupboard and eating the quickest, easiest and normally most unhealthy, food we can find. I’ve been meal planning for several years but it was more a case of buying in food for the week and choosing which meal we wanted as and when. Now I’m back at work, we have less money and we have a baby, things have needed to be planned better. We’ve started to use the concept of having a certain type of meal each evening. Ours is:
- Monday – Vegetarian
- Tuesday – Slow Cooker (We have activities on Tues evening so we need something very quick)
- Wednesday – Fish
- Thursday – Pasta with homemade pasta sauce (we have more activities on Thurs evening so need something very quick here too)
- Friday – Takeout/Dineout/Homemade Pizza/whatever we can find in the freezer
- Saturday – I normally put in a fancy dish that takes a bit more time if we aren’t out and about
- Sunday – Roast
This means that I no longer need to think about meals nor do I have to constantly answer my husband’s questions asking what we are having for dinner that evening. He knows that if it’s Monday, its vegetarian (his particular pet hate, but I think we are getting there slowly! What is it about some men and vegetables? lol). If it’s Wednesday it’s fish. Sometimes we chop and change Tues and Thurs so have a slow cooker meal on a Thurs instead of Tues. He knows that if he comes home on a Tues and the house doesn’t smell of slow cooked food, we are having pasta.
We use the MealBoard Application on iTunes as we both have iPAD’s (the iPADS’s have been our one indulgence in the past couple of years!). It allows me to add breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for each day. I love this because it ensures that we don’t waste that much food and reminds me to ensure that we have healthy snacks available. It also allows me to create templates based on one or two week’s existing meal plans, so I can just copy in a template for future weeks and move things around as I like. I don’t use the templates as often as I could because I like to keep as much variety in our meals as possible. You can sync the application to other Apple products which means that my husband can immediately check what we are having for dinner on any given day, and often he will start the cooking if I’m not back in time.
The MealBoard Application works for us but there are many other types of meal planning tools that you could use.
Using Meal Board and shopping online means that I can plan our meals and shopping in about 5 minutes now. I estimate that this planning gives me about an hour to two hours a week back with my family. Meal planning also helps me to ensure that we have at least one portion of fish a week, at least one vegetarian meal a week and that we are eating as much variety as we can.
I’ve enclosed a few links below that you might find interesting reading…
Sainsburys Meal Planning and Meal Ideas (I really like this site. They have some great recipes that are quick, cheap and easy to make).
Back to the Basics: Meal Planning I love Simple Mom’s website. It’s an American site but she has some great ideas and really appeals to my planning and organising nature.
Imperfect, Flexible, Doable Meal Blueprint
The six meal shuffle: extremely simple meal planning This is also an American website but Megan has some great tips and ideas.
3 Fail proof ways to stick to meal planning An American website but still some great ideas.