Meal planning simply means planning ahead what you are going to eat and when. Now, this may sound like a daunting task, well at least for me it was. But trust me it has quite a lot of pros and its totally worth it. I have seen my mother plan our meals for so many years now, but I never understood why until now. In fact, in spite of her being after me to do the same, I have found last minute meal preps working for me up until now.
Ever since corona and lockdown happened I have realized that last minute plans often end up in eating junk or ordering in (of course not during the present times, but otherwise). And that is definitely not healthy, neither for us nor the kids. And so, with the no house help situation, I finally decided to give it a try. And God! What a huge help it has been.
Lets start with the pros.
- SAVES TIME: Now planning a week’s meal will definitely take time but it saves a lot of time on a daily basis. With the meal plan in place you can prep a day ahead (mainly soaking dals, chopping veges, preparing fresh pastes and sauces etc), which will save a lot of your cooking time the next day. You can also treat Sunday like the main prep day. I, usually prepare the weeks supply for ginger garlic paste, roasting and grinding peanuts, grating dry coconut/ jaggery and the likes every Sunday. And trust me, this saves a lot of time everyday.
- EAT HEALTHY: While planning all your meals you can make sure that you are eating healthy and nutrition rich food for the major part of the week. Kids love burgers, pizzas, fries, cakes, cookies etc. You can thus keep a check on these things and limit them to not more than once a week.
- SAVES MONEY: Meal planning doesn’t mean that you have to buy lesser groceries. What it really helps you with is not buying unnecessary groceries. Walking through the grocery aisles at the mall can be overwhelming. Lets get this extra packet of nachos, the kids want biscuits and chips, ooh this chocolate looks new! But since you will have all your major meals and snacks planned for the week you know that all these indulgences will be limited. And so, no unnecessary shopping.
- VARIETY FOOD: Planning will help you with including all food groups in your everyday meals and you will end up eating a balanced diet. With the ingredient list in front of you, you can even look up for and try new recipes and preparations and make the food interesting. And who doesn’t love variety food? It’s a total win win.
- LESS WASTAGE OF FOOD: planning ahead helps you with using your resources effectively and to the maximum. Thus, lesser left overs ending up in the bins.
- ROUTINE: meal planning will help keep up with your routine. Do check out my post on routines and why we need to follow it here https://motherlymess.com/2020/05/26/importance-of-routine-in-a-childs-life/
Having said that. There are certain points that I would like to stress upon.
Meal planning can be done daily, weekly and even monthly. But I feel weekly plans work the best. If weekly plans are tedious or not working for you, then you can even plan only for the weekends or for your busy days. It will always work.
Meal planning can be done 2 ways. You either buy the groceries first and then plan or vice versa. It works both ways. You need to choose what works best for you.
Be Flexible, especially when you have kids. Always be ready with options in case kids do not want to eat a particular thing. You can even swap the meal with any other day or have something else handy. I always keep eggs and fried snacks handy for such situations. A few chicken nuggets can be a nice accompaniment to what they do not want to eat.
Plan easy to make meals for busy days . Indulgences can happen on weekends or on comparatively less busy days.
Now, I understand every family and their meal choices are different. So work around that. Also, involve your kids with the planning. This way they will look forward to their choice of meals without creating a fuss on other days.
The meal plan printable i have used here are free printable available on google.
So, thats all from me now.
See you soon.
Bbye, take care.
Stay indoors. Stay Safe.