Meal Planning Made Easy
Meal Planning! You've more than likely heard about it. Maybe you've thought you really should get organised and spend time planning your family's meals for the week. But, who has the time right? We are all so busy, there's always something or someone who wants our time. Throw into the mix trying to cater for someone with a food allergy or on a restricted diet, it all seems so overwhelming and too hard. Trust me it doesn't have to be that difficult - even if someone in your family has allergies or dietary restrictions!
I used to hear about meal planning too and to be honest I thought I was too busy to actually do it too. I can honestly say now though, when I put the time in and implement it, those few minutes I spend every week planning our weekly meals are the most productive of my whole week. Meal Planning has honestly changed my life.
- Meal Planning saves me money - Im not running to the corner shop buying last minute items at inflated prices.
- Meal Planning saves me time - I know ahead of time what we are eating and what I need to do (or delegate other family members to do).
- Meal Planning helps reduce my stress - being unorganised and feeling out of control is a huge form of stress for me, and I'm sure many people. When I plan our meals I feel like I am ahead and in control of l my week, which feels great!
- Meal Planning helps us eat healthier. When things are organised and I have the ingredients I need there is no reason or excuse to grab some takeaway on the home because I can't decide what to cook. I look forward to putting together something healthy and nutritious for my family.
For some people, meal planning is a struggle and big challenge, not because they don't have an idea of what to cook, (well sometimes for allergy mums) but because they feel they are too busy to do it. But if you make a habit to do the meal planning, it is not as hard as you think. You just need few ideas on how to get started. Here's a few to help make it easier for you...
1. Spend a few minutes thinking about the meals you can cook for the entire week.
It only takes about 10 minutes to do some initial planning. This initial planning doesn't need to be time consuming or complicated. Make it a habit to plan your meals for the week. The more you practice, the more quickly you'll be able to decide what to cook with minimal effort.
2. Make a list of foods that your home loves to eat.
Keep a list of the foods you love to eat. This will save you time planning next week because you can make use of the previous menu. To starve off boredom with a particular meal, try to alternate it every other week, or get creative and jazz it up. Try substituting some of the ingredients or add new flavours. Customisation also allows you to save time because you only have to think of few components to replace the other contents of the menu.
3. Let other members of the family help you.
It's easier to do the meal planning if you can delegate some of the tasks to other members. Let's say you do the cooking and preparation and one member of your family can shop for the foods you listed. You can even ask them to clean the areas after you cook.
4. Cook foods that you can serve twice.
Doubling up the dishes is best to do if you haven't planned ahead. It's also an excellent way to save time. You can store the cooked foods in the fridge or freezer and reheat them for another meal later in the week. Make sure to keep your foods fresh and safe by storing them in airtight containers, preferably glass.
Meal planning is an effective way to reduce the stress and time spent on cooking. It is well worth the effort. Once you get into the habit, you'll find you free up so much time... and headspace. Give it a try and let me know how you go in the comments below.
The extra challenge for allergy mums is finding recipes that are free from the allergens you need to avoid. Some mums are so overwhelmed and time poor that the thought of meal planning for the whole week is too daunting and overwhelming. Believe me, I totally get it. I felt the same way when I was faced with cooking for a family with many different allergies and intolerances. At one stage I was cooking three different meals every night!
That's why I have developed an affordable meal membership packed with delicious healthy recipes that are all free from gluten, nuts, dairy and eggs. I've been doing this for years and I know this will help your week flow better. You'll be more in control of your time. You'll eat healthier, no more grabbing take away on the way home from work cause you can't think what to have for dinner. Plus you'll build a great stock of allergy friendly recipes that the whole family (allergies or not) will love.
Yours in health and wellness,
Sonya Lee x