The school holidays are just around the corner and this means that the kids are going to be asking you for food – CONSTANTLY!!!
You know that your food shopping bill can easily get out of control when the kids are around all the time.
I personally find that writing a meal plan really helps me to:
1. Keep within my budget; this means more money to spend on the fun activities (you know everything costs a fortune when you take the kids out for the day)
2. Stop impulse buying (that’s when all the CRAP foods end up in the shopping basket)
3. Remain calm; knowing what meals we are having definitely reduces my stress levels
4. Keep to a routine; so, my own healthy eating habits don’t end up going out the window!
5. Delegate; yes, others can help you when you have a plan
Once you get used to writing a weekly plan it becomes part of everyday life. You will automatically write up your week, check the cupboards and note what you need to buy when you order your shopping (I highly recommend this one during the school holidays) or go to the supermarket!
This doesn’t mean you have to be completely rigid and not have scope for spontaneity or changing the plan. It is easier to adjust a plan than have no plan and the stress of not knowing what’s happening at meal times!
Don’t end up in a food rut just because it’s the holidays. Get the kids involved in some cooking. If they are 6 years and above, then teach them how to make an easy dinner recipe. Ask them what they would like to add to the weekly meal plan. Get the cookbooks out – I know you have a tonne of them – and choose a new recipe to cook.
How to write your meal plan
- Start by listing out your regular family meals; the ones you can cook with your eyes closed and you know everyone will eat.
- Put an asterix against the really quick ones.
- Highlight a couple of recipes you know you always have the ingredients for i.e. tuna, pasta bake!
- Then add to the list the recipes you’ve not done for a while, the almost forgotten ones.
- Aim to have around 21 meals on your list.
- Have a look at the week ahead and note any activities you have planned.
- Now using the meal planner (see below for download) you can start to write in the meals you are intending to have to suit your schedule.
- Next make a list of the ingredients you need.
- Check your cupboards and cross of anything you already have in stock.
- Order your shopping online or plan a day/time to go to the shops.
Once you get in to the habit of doing this you can have a few meal plans that you rotate; 3 weeks is a good option. I have a shopping list saved online so that when everything is getting too busy and I’ve lost the plot – I can order this list and know I have my meals ready for that week. This list relates to a meal plan that consists of super quick and easy meals.
For help you can click HERE to get my super quick recipe eBook which also gives you access to my meal planning template AND some sample meal plans together with shopping list to help get you started.