Meal planning is a real passion of mine. I’ve been doing it for years now. It started because my hubby works well past dinner time plus my son was on a restricted diet. This meant I was in the kitchen from 5pm till 8pm most nights making two different meals then having to clean up. It was incredibly time consuming.
But over the years I have learnt some really simple tips which has saved me so much time in the kitchen both with preparation and clean up. There is also time saved in the grocery store because I find when you have a plan and a list it is easier to stay on track. Then there is the money saved by not over spending on groceries or buying takeaway dinners last minute.
I’m passionate about helping as many people as I can put a little thought into their meals and I just love hearing about how it has changed their life.
Are your evenings a chaotic nightmare?
So you’ve arrived home hungry and tired from a stressful day. You panic as you realise you need to prepare dinner. You look in the fridge then pantry and find there is no inspiration of what to cook. The freezer holds something unrecognisable but not knowing what it is or how long it’s been there you decide it’s not worth the risk. Now your stomach is grumbling.
Add to that the constant interruptions from screaming kids demanding your attention or a grumpy spouse asking “what’s for dinner?” and it’s all getting too much… you start to dial your local takeaway store just to ease the stress!
The solution is easier than you think.
Meal planning is so much more than just planning what meals you have each day. The many benefits include; portion control, utilising food specials or bulk purchasing, avoiding food wastage, less stress in the evenings getting meals on the table, less time spent in the kitchen and most importantly spending quality time with your family.
My routine is to plan my meals for the week on a Sunday and get my grocery list ready. Every week I wash and chop my fruit and veggies which are stored in the fridge for easy access (snacks, lunches and salads). My meat is always portioned & frozen with the name and date and sometimes already marinated (Asian sticky ribs). Sometimes I have a full on meal prep fiesta baking different snacks to freeze ready for the lunch box, a basic bolognaise plus a slow cooked lamb all portioned up ready for easy weeknight dinners. You will be surprised at how many different types of meals a basic slow cooked lamb can be made into!?
The simplest types of meal prep are as follows; you may just do one to save a little time or all three…
BUY & PREP – This is your produce washed & chopped, meats prepped & stored accordingly or any additions to make your meal making process easier. Freezer friendly foods like grated cheese, breads & dough, stock, herbs, sauces and certain fruit & veg, can help you avoid food wastage.
PART MADE MEALS – just add sides. Pasta sauce, Mexican, slow cooked meats, curries.
READY MEALS – for reheating on those busy days. Leftover meals, lasagne & pasta, sausage rolls & pies, school snacks, curries & rice, soups & stews, pizza.
Some important tips to remember though is to label and date the contents, store your food right and don’t leave it in the freezer for months on end. After all, the reason we meal prep in the first place is to enjoy a delicious stress free meal on a busy day!
See you next time,
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