Planning your week when it comes to meals can be a nightmare. Frustrating beyond frustration, especially if you have a number of mouths to feed.
Everyone has different methods on how to deal with meal planning, and if you’re simply winging it, you really ought to consider a method.
Planning can relieve stress hugely and there are many ways in which you can do so. In fact, you’re almost guaranteed to find one to suit you.
Let Someone Plan It For You
Perhaps the most stress free way of planning your meals is by letting someone else do it for you.
There are dozens of fantastic services out there that’ll bring you well-balanced meals directly to your door.
What they essentially do is send you a recipe alongside all your ingredients, meaning all you have to do is follow the steps and you’re good to go.
More often than not they’re quick and easy and take into account your tastes, dietary requirements and more.
The best meal kit delivery service is often touted as Home Chef and is relatively reasonably priced, while you’ll also find Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Plated are also incredibly popular.
Theme Your Nights
If you’re doing it all yourself though, a good way to manage your meals without things becoming smart is to theme your nights.
Mexican Monday, Thai Tuesday, you know where we’re going with this. By having a theme each night you have a loose theme and narrow down the options but not limit yourself too much.
For example if you were to enjoy Mexican food one night per week, you could enjoy burritos one week, tacos the next, enchiladas, rancheros, fajitas, the list goes on, all including different ingredients.
A good way to do this is by collecting recipes as you go along and cataloguing them into various styles of food. You can then look back and choose a different recipe every week.
Choose A Day To Do Your Shopping
It can be difficult to know what you want to eat in a week’s time, but the most successful meal planners not only create a shopping list for the week but also go into the grocery store with real purpose.
Planning in a particular day and time during the week in which you do your shopping is always wise as you’ll often find you can buy in bulk for cheaper and use the products for various meals across the week.
When deciding which day you want to shop, it’s worth trialling a few days, discovering which days and hours the store has its shelves full and avoiding the times that are overly busy, as this will only add to the stress.
Additionally, if you’re looking to make further savings, you could time your shop around the times when grocery stores drop their prices on fresh items towards the end of the day.
Cook Components of Meals
In many cases you might need partly the same recipe for multiple dishes. For example, you might make a pasta sauce one evening which could comfortably work as a tomato base on a pizza.`
In cases like this it’s worth bulk making and refrigerating or freezing until you need it.
This can be done with all manner of foods. You could cook a whole chicken and include it in a salad one day, put it into sandwiches the next.
The planning involved in this will not only save you money as you’re reusing ingredients but also a whole heap of time, which can be incredibly relieving if you have busy days ahead.
Be Open To Change
Some days planning ahead simply does not work. You might end up late in work and not have the time to spend two hours prepping when you’re home. You might end up just not fancying the meal you had planned.
Being flexible and switching days around can be helpful, while it can also be a good idea to have reserve meals in the freezer that you can enjoy instead of slaving over a meal you don’t want.
Keep aside a pantry full of essentials, ready in case of a late day or change of plan. It’ll certainly avoid you calling for a takeout.
Include A Treat Day
That’s not to say you shouldn’t have takeout or enjoy an evening dining out though. Being regimented seven days a week can be difficult and let’s face it, not very fun.
A treat day can be the light at the end of the tunnel if you’re about to cave in, and the money you save in planning can in many cases leave a little surplus to indulge a little.
It’s your reward for beginning a life of planning meals, and boy do you deserve it!