It’s that time of day again. Everyone’s starving. Kids are hanging off your leg crying. Your Husband just got home from work asking what’s for dinner, and quite frankly, you have no idea! Before you know it, you’re calling the local Thai take out, stressed because it takes you over your weekly budget and you really wanted to make this year your most healthy and organised year yet! I hear you! That’s why today I’m sharing my favourite 3 ways to plan your weekly meals!
I happen to be one of those crazy people who has meal planned for as long as I can remember! I hate not knowing what I’ll eat that night, and if I don’t plan it in advance, it’s so easy for me to grab the nearest thing to satisfy my hunger. (Which is also why I don’t buy packets of chips or chocolate bars, because if they’re in the house, I have no self control!)
Have you ever been shopping on an empty stomach? What was the result? For me, I buy way too much, of things I don’t normally eat. I am also way more tempted by the unhealthy snack shelf by the tills! This ALWAYS takes me over my weekly grocery shopping budget, and I know that when I eat junk food, I don’t feel as good.
I mean, I’m still human, so of course I still treat myself, but being prepared eliminates it happening too often.
So my first of the 3 ways to plan your weekly meals is an obvious one.
- Meal Planning
To be honest, I thought meal planning came naturally to everyone. We probably all think that about things that come easily to us. My Husband thinks I’m mad! I sit and go through my favourite recipe books, writing down what we will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, before writing out my shopping list!
I won’t lie, it’s not always a quick job. Meal planning takes time. I have had people say to me that they like to just cook what they feel like on the day. I think that’s great, and if that’s what works for you, then honestly, I think keep doing that!
I generally prefer to know what I’m having in advance. If I have salad on the menu, I make sure I eat that at the beginning of the week, and keep hardier vegetables for the end of the week, knowing they will last longer. However, if I have spaghetti bolognaise on the list for Monday, but Tuesdays meal is fish, and I wake up on Monday feeling like fish, of course I’ll switch it around a bit.
I don’t know about you, but whilst I’m eating one meal, I’m already excited for the next! I love food! If I know I’ve got a really yummy meal to look forward to in the evening, it keeps me going all day. I also think it’s nice to prepare my children, so they can look forward to it too. I am really trying my hardest to ensure my children have a healthy relationship with food. They eat everything we eat. Maybe we are just lucky, but both my girls (touch wood haha!) eat more or less anything we give them.
I don’t overly obsess over the actual meal prep. Like, I don’t prep all the vegetables a week in advance. However, in the morning, I do prep the meal for that night. If you have kids, you’ll know what witching hour is like! (Or maybe you’re a hangry human yourself!) Trying to prepare and cook food with kids hanging off you, whilst also getting bedtime things ready, tidying the toys from the day, and all the other hats we have to wear, gets a lot!
I love to try new recipes, and remake old ones. My meal prep in the morning consists of chopping everything needed for that meal, and putting it into a container in the order it goes into the meal. So if three things go in at the beginning they’ll go in one container, if the meat goes in next but by itself, I’ll cut it and put in a container by itself and so on. It saves so much time in the evening because I can just throw in each container of food at the appropriate step in the recipe! If you do that too, let me know in the comments!
2. Ordering groceries online
This has been an absolute lifesaver for me this past year! In an ideal world, I prefer to buy my meat from the local butcher, and buy the majority of my fruit and vegetables from our favourite farm shop. However, on days when it is just too much leaving the house with children, online grocery ordering has been amazing! My personal preference is Woolworths, but Coles offer the service too.
I plan my meals and write my shopping list, then just type in the things that I need and add them to my cart. It’s so much easier than wrangling children into and out of the car, finding a trolley with more than one seat (rarely happens), entertaining children while trying to concentrate on what I actually need to buy (usually results in just throwing whatever I see into the trolley so I can hurry out) then realising you’ve forgotten your earth friendly bags so either have to buy more, or load everything back into the trolley then unload individual items into your car (and THEN doing the same when you get back home!) Phew, it’s exhausting just typing it!
Shopping online also helps avoid the temptation of buying things that you don’t need, and therefore going over budget (or, having to avoid the Frozen merchandise thrown at you in every aisle, resulting in toddler meltdowns if you don’t buy it!)
For so long, I felt really guilty ordering groceries online! I know it sounds silly, but I felt I wasn’t fulfilling my wifely duty, or cheating, by ordering it online! Crazy right?! Even my Husband thought that was ridiculous! I think as Mum’s we definitely beat ourselves up too much! It’s online groceries. Whatever makes life easier, so we can enjoy the extra time together, is fine in my opinion.
3. My final tip of the 3 ways to plan your weekly meals is using Hello Fresh
I’m pretty sure everyones heard of Hello Fresh, but if you haven’t, they are a food delivery service. I’ve linked their website above, but a short brief would be: you can choose how many people will be eating, how many days out of the week you would like to receive meals for and which meals you would like. The longer they have been around, the more options that have become available. You can currently switch out meals for alternatives, there is a vegetarian option and you can now add a fruit box and snacks. They send you recipe cards for your weekly meals, with step by step instructions that are so easy, even the worst cook in the world could follow them! The meals are even separated into colour coordinated bags (with their equal colour on the matching recipe).
If you are out on the day of the delivery, everything is packaged within ice packs, so your food will remain fresh until you get home.
Obviously, with a food delivery service, you pay a little extra. However, if you are a busy Mum (who isn’t), your time is precious. Sometimes paying a little extra, to free up your time to do other things, is worth it.
You pay per week, and there’s no lock in contract.
Make sure you follow me on Instagram, because I often share codes for a free box!
So there you have it. My 3 ways to plan your weekly meals. Have these tips been helpful to you? If so, I’d love for you to let me know! You can leave a comment below, or let me know on Facebook or Instagram.
If you love feeling organised, you can check out my post on ways to get organised this year!
See you next week for tips for photographing your toddler!