As a coach and trainer I often find myself talking to clients about meal planning, as it can be time saving and also mean that it avoids the need to devise a healthy meal on the run in the busy-ness of mid week work/school/clubs rush.
Sarah Alder of Kitchen Titbits kindly agreed to share her thoughts on meal planning in this blog, which I am sure you will find helpful.
“I’ve heard many excuses for not doing a meal plan – no time, it’s restrictive, don’t know how, sounds like something my gran would do – but none are as strong as the argument for just getting on with it. There’s a very good reason why meal planning is something your gran would do!
Invest a little time one evening every couple of weeks to get organised and you could quickly see the results:
No more last-minute panicking about what to eat for dinner
No resorting to a bowl of cereal if you get home from work late
Lunch taken care of too – avoid cold supermarket sandwiches and soggy salads
Eat better, more healthily and a wider variety of foods
Fewer and quicker supermarket trips, less stressful shopping
Pasta four nights out of seven? Not anymore!
Save money – within weeks
Reduce food waste – you wouldn’t throw a fiver in the bin without thinking so why food?
Here are my top tips for meal planning success
Find a way that works best for you - notes on your phone, an app, pen and paper, chalkboard. I have a simple meal planning template that I share with my clients to get them started and show them how to use it. But it doesn't matter how you do it, just that you do it and that you stick with it!
Check the calendar before you start so you can work around nights out, kids’ clubs, busy evenings and guests. You don’t want to be left with a meal no one is around to eat.
Think about working on two weeks at a time. It feels like you're spending less time doing it, it’s more efficient and you can be thinking about ways to use up ingredients over the two weeks without getting bored of eating them.
If your plans change, move the meal to another night. Put the swapped planned meal into a new week to make a head start on your next plan. There are escape routes when meal planning!
Regularly plan a batch cook meal so that you can have something in the freezer for a night off cooking or so you can grab something quick and easy for a busy evening. Freeze it in smaller portions to give you flexibility over how you use it.
Know what you've got in the fridge, freezer and store cupboard and use them as a starting point for meal ideas and using up what you've already got. It’s also useful to know what you’ve got if suddenly you have extra mouths to feed or your meal out is cancelled – rather than hastily ordering a takeaway you’ll be able to make something from seemingly nothing. As mums we’re always acting the magician to make things happen, add this to your book of tricks.
And finally, don't forget there are more meals in a day than just dinner.
Thank you to Lesley for allowing me to share my meal planning wisdom with you and give you a flavour of what Kitchen Titbits is all about. We share a passion for good food and showing people that a healthy lifestyle and eating well needn't cost a fortune, cause you organisation headaches or eat into what little precious time you have left for you once everything else is taken care of.
For more tips, tricks and titbits you can find Sarah at https://kitchentitbits.co.uk/ or over on Facebook as www.facebook.com/KitchenTitbits.Sarah or on Instagram and Twitter as @kitchentitbits