Save your sanity with menu planning
by Louise D'Allura on November 21st, 2009

“What’s for dinner?” - it's a question we dread hearing or asking ourselves. It always seems to pop up when we are in the middle of being busy, or the clock catches your eye - how can it be 5pm already!?

You race to the fridge and freezer (mentally if you're at work) only to find you have 3 potential meal options but you’re missing key ingredients in all three. So, now you have to grab the kids, who have just hit the witching hour, fight peak hour traffic to get the shops, or get there on the way home, then hurry back to make the dinner and eat it before bedtime!

Do you say to yourself "If I had more time I'd be able to make healthy food. It's just getting takeaways is quicker and easier - I don’t have time to spend thinking about what to create!"

Take a moment to stop and breathe!
Menu planning can save you a lot of time and energy. There are lots of different systems you can use – when I work with my clients we spend time working out what style suits them best, for example, some like to plan their meals according to what is on sale each week, others like to plan a month ahead, others don’t like to plan at all because they don't know what they will feel like – and yes that is still a plan you can plan for!!

In my experience there are a few things you can do that will make your menu planning easier – even when you don’t like to plan!

1) Start with a kitchen/ pantry declutter
The best time of year to declutter you pantry is at least twice a year - at the begining of winter and summer because the food you prepare at these times of year is so different!

2) Always have a shopping list
As soon as you open it – put it on the shopping list.

3) Have roaming quick and easy healthy recipes
Create a list of healthy recipes that are quick and easy so you can select one in a hurry. Don’t over complicate it – just choose five and keep them in your phone, your diary, or where you can access them anywhere (for example via a web based email system, Google documents or recipe website).

4) Take short-cuts
Cooking doesn’t have to take up a lot of time! There are some pre-prepared foods on the market that are also healthy options. If we were on a shopping tour I'd be able to tell you which ones were better choices than others. In the meantime, why not try a roast chicken and serve it with a fresh salad. Or if you’re looking for ways to include fish in your diet get some frozen fish! While it’s cooking, par-cook potatoes and sweet potatoes in the microwave then finish baking them in the oven, tossed lightly in olive oil. Serve with a garden salad and dinner is on the table in 30 minutes!

5) Make Ahead Meals
Spend time once a month cooking a bulk batch of one or two meals that you can freeze. This is a great idea when items are on special (e.g. mince for bolognese sauce). Don’t forget to label your containers with the date and instructions on how to reheat and what to serve it with. No need to give instructions over the phone anymore!

6) Who’s helping?
You might also like to consider adding into your menu planning chores around cooking, cleaning and washing up/ stacking the dishwasher.

Have fun with your meal planning and remember to celebrate your success by saving the difference between what you currently spend on food and the amount you save by meal planning and put that money towards a “family fun fund” or a holiday.

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with Menu planning, menu plans, pantry declutter, kitchen declutter, quick and easy healthy meals


Leave a Comment

Article Archive
2017 (2)
2015 (14)
2014 (26)
January (2)
February (2)
March (2)
April (3)
May (2)
June (3)
July (2)
August (2)
September (2)
October (1)
November (4)
December (1)
2013 (28)
January (1)
February (4)
March (3)
April (2)
May (2)
July (6)
August (1)
September (3)
October (2)
November (2)
December (2)
2012 (14)
2011 (15)
2010 (25)
January (3)
February (5)
March (1)
April (2)
May (4)
June (1)
September (3)
November (3)
December (3)
2009 (6)