Meal planning – what’s in it for me?

As a meal planning and family mealtimes expert, I must have heard every excuse under the sun as to why people don’t do it – no time, it’s restrictive, don’t know how, sounds like something my gran would do. And yet, the benefits far out weigh all of those excuses and there’s a very good reason why meal planning is something your gran would do!

Invest a little time to get organised and you could quickly see the results:

  • No more last-minute panicking about what to eat for dinner
  • Resorting to a bowl of cereal if you get home from work late will be a thing of the past
  • Lunch taken care of too – avoid cold supermarket sandwiches and soggy salads
  • Fewer and quicker supermarket trips, less stressful shopping
  • Save money – within weeks
  • Reduce food waste – you wouldn’t throw a fiver in the bin without thinking so why food?
  • The whole family will eat better, more healthily and a wider variety of foods
  • You can devise meals everyone will enjoy that work with your dietary needs.

How to get started

This is where most people I work with struggle – knowing where or how to start.

  1. Schedule some time in your calendar to do the planning so that it happens. Starting to meal plan is about creating a new good habit and like any habit you need to make time for it and work on it so that it becomes something you stick with. Also, with practice it becomes quicker and easier. 
  2. Know what you’ve got that needs using up and use it as a starting point for your meal ideas. This will make getting started easier but will also ensure you’re cutting the waste. 
  3. Check your calendar and know what you’ve got going on and how many mouths you have to feed for each meal.
  4. Grab a pen and paper, your wall calendar, a seven day meal plan template, your laptop or your phone and make a start – stop putting it off! It doesn’t matter how you do it, just that you find a way that works for you and that you stick with it!

Some tips for meal planning success

  • Plan two weeks at a time – It feels like you’re spending less time doing it, it’s more efficient and you can be thinking about ways to use up ingredients over the two weeks without getting bored of eating them.
  • Plan dinner first – Dinner leads to leftovers or gives you the chance to think about what you’re making and what you could cook extra of which can contribute to lunch the next day meaning lunch is no longer an afterthought and you’re eating well throughout the day.
  • Put yourself first! – Think about the foods you need to include each day and plan meals that work for your dietary requirements. Then think about how you can add to this to keep the rest of the family happy and sustained. Something like my bibimbap is the perfect meal to pull together for a family with different dietary needs and likes as well as being a great way to use up bits and pieces.
  • Regularly plan a batch cook meal – Batch cooks in the freezer mean you can have something in the freezer for a night off cooking or so you can grab something quick and easy for a busy evening.
  • Keep a list of meal ideas – Add to the list when you see a recipe you like the look of, think of something you fancy, the kids request a meal, or you spot a lunch a colleague has brought into work you would like to try. If you have an ongoing list, you can refer to it when planning rather than scratching your head for ideas all the time.

Thank you to Lydia for allowing me to share my meal planning wisdom with you and give you a flavour of what Kitchen Titbits is all about. We share a passion for good food and showing people that a healthy lifestyle and eating well needn’t cost a fortune, cause you organisation headaches or eat into what little precious time you have left for you once everything else is taken care of. 

For more tips, tricks and titbits as well as plenty of meal inspiration you can find me at over on Facebook as @KitchenTitbits.Sarah or on Instagram and Twitter as @kitchentitbits If you need more help with meal planning or family mealtimes, I’d love to chat.

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