Hi! Good to be back! It’s been very busy indeed, with plenty of study and a fair amount of experiments in the kitchen.
Speaking of cooking … a blessing or a curse? A pleasure for some but a headache for others. Would you like some tips on how to make your meal planning easy?
I came across “Planning Meals” in my course work Childhood Nutrition and Obesity Prevention and it inspired me to share these tips with you.
As a working mother, I always found meal planning very helpful. But when my children left home, I was less fussed about planning meals. Old habits die hard and when I came across this section in my notes, it rekindled a passion from the past.
Historically, I used to spend a good couple of hours, typically on a Sunday afternoon, leafing through my cookery books. I love it; so relaxing (agreed – not everybody’s cup of tea!) But the advent of the Internet changed all that!
From my course work I picked this very good tip – “theme nights” – which inspired me to write this piece and share it with you. Here goes …
Write down your “theme nights” – example: Monday – pasta; Tuesday – fish; Wednesday – mince / grains / pulses; Thursday – rice; Friday – soups / salad; Saturday – kids’ favourite meal; Sunday – family treat out / old favourite recipe.
There are various meal planning apps these days. Alternatively, you can go for a more flexible approach and run a search for the food you’d like to eat. Keep your searches simple – do not choose complicated recipes with plenty of ingredients – unless you are blessed with time on your hands. The trend is five-ingredient recipes.
Refine your searches as you go – browse by ingredients instead of recipes. If you have leftover pasta in the fridge and a broccoli head that’s losing it’s bright green colour, Google “pasta with broccoli” and presto! You end up with a number of recipes to choose from. It’s that easy!
Ask your kids for their suggestions, even if they’re still young. Involving your family with meal planning will make it less likely you have complaints at supper time and instills good habits in kids.
What are the benefits of meal planning?
- Meal planning saves time, effort and stress;
- It’s cost effective;
- You have all your ingredients readily available;
- You can work around commitments by preparing ahead.
The secret behind successful meal planning is not how detailed your plan is, but how varied. Make it interesting – present a rainbow of colour and texture with every meal. Ensure meals contain carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats to meet your family’s nutritional needs. Look for seasonal offers, especially at your vegetable man and buy local produce. Local fruit and veg in season, is likely to save you money and give you a product that’s more fresh than it’s imported counterpart.
Download your weekly menu planner, courtesy of Future Fit Training School of Nutrition, to get you started.
My thanks go to:
Future Fit Training School of Nutrition
Lifehacker.com – Five Best Meal Planning Apps
Allrecipes.com – 5 Ingredient Recipes
Seriouseats.com – Dinner tonight: Pasta e Broccoli Recipe