A few people have inquired how I meal plan. I meal plan because my days are busy and the last thing I need is to have to think about what is for dinner (or even breakfast and lunch sometimes). If the thinking has all been done on the weekend then all I need to do is get the ingredients. I do my fruit and vegetable shopping on the weekend, then I do a supermarket shop about every fortnight.
Many of my friends are much more creative than me and they don’t need a meal plan. I prefer everything worked out prior to the beginning of the week. In our home we have at least one child that needs to be gluten-free, dairy-free, rice-free and low-FODMAP. This requires careful planning and organisation because often I can’t just grab anything quick and easy for dinner. This means no take-away (unless it’s grilled fish) or even baked beans and toast for dinner.
This post will be long and detailed, so if you are not interested you may want to click away now!
Ok here we go….
My plan often changes throughout the week and my meals often don’t turn out like I had planned, but it is still helpful to have a basic outline to work from. I have already made a 6-week meal plan. Over the last couple of years I have gradually made a list of our most liked meals. I grouped them into beef, chicken, fish & vegetarian. Each time I made something new I asked everyone whether it should go on the list. If most people liked the meal then it’s on the list, if not I may never make it again.
To make my 6 week meal plan I added all my meals off the list into this document;
The ‘new’ section is for different meals because I do like to try new things, and if I keep serving up the same meals over and over I am sure people will get sick of them after a while.
Once I had my six week plan it made meal planning a lot easier. On the weekends I sit down with my favourite cookbooks, my 6-week meal plan, my shopping list and my diary to plan for the week. Some nights need slow cooker meals done earlier in the day because we are out at sporting activities. Other nights might need quicker meals if we have been out that day, and some meals that take longer I will put on a day that I know we are home. Some meals also need things to be soaked from the day before so I will write that on the plan.
I have files in my cupboard labelled for breakfast, snacks and dinners. This is where I keep all my recipes that I have collected from the internet. If I have decided to cook a few things from those files then I will put the recipe in the front of the file so I can access it quickly during the week.
Lunches are often leftovers from the night before. I still need to make a list of our common lunches (as there is not always leftovers) and put it into a list though. Over the next few weeks things should get easier as we get test results for Jay to find out exactly what he can and can’t eat.
Once I have added breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks then I add the ingredients to my shopping list. I only list things which are a bit out of the ordinary and I know my staples off the top of my head.
Then it goes on the fridge, no one bothers me about what is for dinner that week and all I need to do is get check in the morning that I still have the ingredients I need for the day.
Then hopefully during the week I have a little time to sit and enjoy my efforts…
I hope that makes sense, ask me if you have any questions.