Each week, I have a date with my best friend. Her name is Meal Planning, and we meet once a week, typically on a Sunday afternoon, over a cup of tea and stack of cookbooks. We discuss different recipes, assess the calendar for the week to come and talk about how we’re going to feed my family for the next five to seven days. For the last eight years, Meal Planning has helped me save time, fed my family healthier dinners, and reduced my food costs. We all need a friend like her in our corner, don’t you think?
In case you couldn’t tell, I am an avid meal planner. I love the act of putting together a week’s worth of meals. I often feel a little lost when I wake up on a Monday morning without a plan in place. Periodically, I fall off the meal planning wagon, and when I do, our grocery bills are higher, my fridge isn’t as full, and some days I find myself staring into space wondering what the heck I’m going to feed my family for dinner that night.
Here are a few of my favourite tips for effective meal planning:
- Set aside a time to plan. Grab your magazines, cookbooks, or online printouts and decide which recipes you want to make.
- Cross reference your meals with your calendar. If your kids have soccer, hockey, baseball, or dance on a Wednesday night, that isn’t the time to try a brand new recipe.
- Plan meals that allow you to cook once and eat twice. For example, roast two chickens instead of one, and reserve some of the meat for another meal.
- Plan one meal a week that allows you to batch cook. Double-up on your pasta sauce and freeze half for another week.
- Write up your grocery list while your planning the meals; you’re less likely to forget items this way.
Are you a meal planner? If so, how do you go about planning your weekly meals?