Guest Author: Brianna Fear-Keen of @yourfamilysnutritionist
I’ve always meal planned but I think the more our family grew and the busier we got (dance mum here), the more important it was for us to make it a priority.
If you are a mum who:
- Feels like you barely have time to shower, your coffee is always cold and you are constantly chasing your tail
- Is always on the look out for dinner ideas that the entire family will eat
- Cooks several meals a night, or variations, to cater for each person at the dinner table
- Chooses takeaway more often than you would like to admit because you’ve not got anything prepared for dinner
- Wants to learn how to meal prep for the family
This post is for you.
Why meal planning is worthwhile
When we look at meal planning, there are a couple of good reasons why it's so effective so let’s take a look at them.
- It’s helps you save money. When you have a meal plan, you can grocery shop accordingly and buy only what you need. Without a plan and list, you are more likely to buy things that won’t get utilised throughout that week. Great for stocking up the pantry/fridge but not so great if you are on a budget.
- It saves you time. No more staring blankly into the fridge wondering what’s for dinner. Googling what you can create with the ingredients you have or doing a quick supermarket run before you get dinner and spending an extra $30 when you only went for 1-2 items.
- You eat healthier. If we leave large gaps between meals because we aren’t prepared and don’t know what we are eating. When we do eat, we often eat whatever we can get our hands on which, you guessed it, is often not the healthiest choice. You are less likely to make impulsive food choices when you plan in advance.
- Less stressful. There's nothing worse than coming to the end of a hard mum day only to realise you still need to get through the dinner thing. With no brain power left, tired and hungry children and a very emotional you, you rustle up whatever you can find. When you plan, you use half the energy to execute.
Have I convinced you yet?
Good. So now you need to know what tools you need to get started with meal planning for the week.
Tools for meal planning
- Planner: It all starts here. I’m loving my Daily Orders wall planner. I stick mine up on the wall where everyone in the house can see what we are having throughout the week. I only wish it stopped the “what’s to eat” questions I still get asked by the little kids 24/7. My older daughter who loves routine is actually quite fond of it and checks it everyday and asks me if there are any changes to what we are having so it is really helpful for getting children prepared to know what is on the menu each day.
2. Meal Inspiration. Did you know that typically, families cycle through the same 14 meals week after week? Talk about being a creature of habit, right? If it works, it works but if not, know where you can seek inspiration for new recipes. If you don’t want to scour the internet looking for recipes (who has time for that anyway?) then get in touch for some customised recipe collections.
Meal Planning Process
Now you have all the tools you need, let’s look at the process.
- Researching what you have: I start with looking at what ingredients I have in the pantry, in the fridge and in the freezer. From there, I chose what I want to utilise and research recipes I can make utilising those ingredient.
- Write down each recipe: I then write down the recipes on my meal planner and schedule them in.
- Shopping List: From there, I create a shopping list of ingredients that I don’t have yet but need to create all the meals on my meal plan.
- Order/obtain food items: The next step is putting in my online order or visiting the supermarket (depends on the week what I feel like).
- Prep meals or parts of meals: Once I have my grocery shop at home, I try to prep the meals or ingredients as much as I can to make the week go as smooth as possible. This sometimes means chopping up fruit and vegetables, portioning out meats or making a dish and sticking it in the freezer.
Tips for successful meal planning
- Don’t over plan. Leave some room in there in case you make last minute plans or something comes up and you aren’t home for a meal.
- Create a schedule or theme days for your meal plan. Kids LOVE routine and thrive on knowing what to expect and when. So in our house, we have certain nights that are for certain meals. Some that we have used over the years are:
- Monday is a pasta night.
- Fish is a midweek meal.
- Pizza is a Friday night meal.
- Saturdays is leftovers or an easy meal and by easy I mean soup, beans, eggs, toasted sangas kinda thing.
- Sunday’s is roast night
Now that I work from home, I’m less rigid with it, but it certainly is effective. By having a bit of a formula for the theme of the night during the week, it can also help you to get out of a rut of having the same thing all the time. I’m sure there has been weeks where we had chicken of some description every second night! It’s an easy meal to prepare and easy to default too.
- Have a list of your family fav’s handy that you can incorporate into your weekly meal plan. Meals that you know everyone will love that make your life easier. Don’t create your first meal plan with recipes that are all new to you that someone in your family may not like and will take you longer to cook because you are not familiar with the recipe.
- Start building your plan with ingredients you already have. Meal planning should be a tool that helps you to eat better on a budget so utilise the foods you have at home by using them as the basis for your meals before you go and purchase additional food.
So there you have it. My argument for why you should meal plan, what you need to do it successfully and how to do it. As an Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Nutritionist, I can help bring inspiration back into your daily meals by creating personalised meal plans that will provide you with numerous recipes tailored to your likes and dislikes.
Get Support From Your Family’s Nutritionist Accredited Practising Dietitian Brianna Fear-Keen
If you are in need of a meal plan to help you take away the stress of knowing what to eat day after day, you are ready to have something more nutritious that toast for dinner and you are ready to ditch the takeaway, then a 7 day customised meal plan prepared by Your Family’s Nutritionist Accredited Practising Dietitian Brianna Fear-Keen, is the solution for you.
You will receive a 7 day meal plan consisting of ideas for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner as well as 2 snacks per day. All recipes are provided in addition to a customised shopping list. All based on your nutrition goals and preferences. You can purchase yours here.