Meal planning – how to get started
Save each week’s meal plans, especially the ones that have have worked well with recipes that have been the most popular, and you will soon be able to start using them as reference or even create a rota for repeating them.
Tips for getting started:
1. List of family favourites recipes
First of all, make a list of your family’s favourite meals. Get the kids involved and ask them which meals they like best. Aim to have around 20 meals on your list. You can do it in groups of 4 or 5 food types, so say you start with pasta, find 4 pasta dishes for your list. Then maybe chicken recipes, or fish etc. Simple foods like pizza or sausages can also be listed as well as more substantial meals like roast chicken.
2. Family diary & events
Take a look at the family diary. Think about regular classes or after school activities or if you or your partner have to work late on certain days.You will be able to make your weekly menu plan far easier if you know who is going to be around and how much time you have to make & serve up meals.
3. Batch cooking & freezing
Plan ahead and think about batch cooking & freezing. If you plan to make something that freezes well like spaghetti sauce, a stew or casserole make double and freeze the second portion for those days where you won’t have any time to cook.
4. Filling out meal planner
Print out a blank meal planner and start to fill in the boxes. Roughly balance the weeks by including a pasta dish, a chicken recipe, a fish recipe each week. Add matching accompaniments to each dish such as potatoes, boiled, baked, roast or chipped. And balance the meal with a vegetable and a pudding (if your family eats one).
5. Shopping list
You can now write next week’s shopping list from the first week of your Planner.
Finally, stick your meal plan on your fridge or other prominent place where you can have a quick glance at it in the morning. Make a note on your plan if you need to take something out of the freezer, or if you can prepare part of the meal in advance.