Are you bored of preparing and eating the same meals week in and week out?
Whether you're cooking for family or just yourself, weekly meal planning is an effective way of ensuring that you are eating a balanced healthy diet and allows you to make the time to cook your meals from scratch.
Here are some useful tips to get you started:
1. Make a fixed time to make your plan every week -it’s worth putting approximately half an hour aside on a Sunday evening (or when best works for you)
2. I find it easier to start with a flexible structure during the week e.g. Monday- meat, Tuesday -oily fish, Wednesday- vegetarian, Thursday eggs. I find that having a structure then allows me to start thinking about the different meals I can come up with for that week.
3. It’s useful to start building a repertoire of recipes. If I see a recipe that looks interesting or has been recommended, I file it away under a section in a file and make a note of pages of recipes that I have tried from my own recipe book library which have been successful. This is really quick to do if you get in the habit.
4. Planning your weekly means that you can ensure you’ve got the right ingredients in advance. I find online grocery shopping really helps with this, so set a weekly time to do your online shop and you can always pick up any extra fresh produce when you find yourself near your local shop during the week.
5. Weekly organic vegetable box schemes can provide you with inspiration to cook with new seasonal produce and often come with access to interesting recipe ideas. You can find out what’s coming in your box before it’s been delivered/ collected. Additionally check out what’s already in your fridge or larder to give you ideas on what to make.
6. Work around activities such as the days you work late and different kid’s after school activities when putting the plan together. E.g. cooking a quick to prepare meal on busier days of the week and save the more labour intensive meals on the days when I have more time. Slow cookers are great for preparing the food the night before and leftovers of a roast can be made into a new meal for the next night.
7. If you are working full time, for example and have very little time during the week, allot yourself some time one evening a week or at weekends to do some batch cooking so you can start to store up some homemade meals for the freezer. You can also prep things in advance to keep in the fridge such as soups, stews and quinoa.
8. Make it a family affair! You could allow one family member to choose a favourite recipe for one day that week or ask an older child or partner to cook their special choice that day! Make it fun by asking your children to select a country or cultural theme to help them to expand their food choices and get them involved.
Many people tell me they are stuck in a rut and make the same meals week in and week out! I support my clients in planning like this and it has made all the difference! Weekly meal planning has allowed them to diversify their meals and expand recipe ideas. Their children have been encouraged try new foods and flavours which helps prevent them from limiting the foods they will eat in the future.
How do you plan your meals for the week?
If you would like to join in the conversation, join my new closed Facebook group Fuss-Free Healthy Eating https://www.facebook.com/groups/FussFreeHealthyEating/ for easy recipe ideas,sneaky tips and useful information