Our new kitchenware/stationery range is really important to me as it’s products that I use day to day so I’m super excited to have started this range with AprilMade. Meal planning is an important feature of my weekly routine, although I don’t always stick to it rigidly (another post for another time) I find it really helpful. There is definitely a lot of overlap in my reasons for menu planning but here are my main reasons:
1. Menu planning reduces food waste
Meal planning means that I don’t waste ingredients. If I’m buying sour cream to go with fajitas then I’ll also add another meal to the plan like chilli to use the rest up. If I’m making a roast I’ll choose another meal to use up the rest of the meat. For example, if I roast a chicken I’ll usually also cook a risotto, a pie or a curry in the same week. If I cook beef I use the rest in a stir fry or in enchiladas. Left over meat is great for sandwiches and salads too.
2. Meal planning saves money
As meal planning reduces food waste it definitely saves money too. For me the process of writing down the meals we’ll be eating for the next week and making a shopping list from that really helps me to be less tempted to buy extras or be drawn in by extras while I’m shopping, it also means that I go food shopping less frequently.
3. It helps me stay organised
For my family, I know that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are days I won’t have the time to cook from scratch at dinner time so I’ll always make sure I plan a meal I can cook earlier in the day to reheat later, put a meal in the slow cooker or plan to use something from the freezer. I’ve recently realised that planning taking into account our weekly activities means that we actually get to eat at a reasonable time instead of coming home from my daughter’s piano lesson and attempting to make lasagne!
4. It’s less stressful
Spending less than half an hour a week planning the meals and making a shopping list means I get less stressed when it gets to 5 o’clock and that I can easily put a nutritious meal on the table for my family. In recent times where I’ve forgotten to meal plan we end up eating a lot of pasta with grated cheese, tuna and sweetcorn (we call it pasta extravaganza!)
5. It means everyone’s expectations are managed and everyone is involved
I tend to be the person doing the menu planning in my family, I do the majority of the cooking during the week as it has always been something that I have enjoyed and I also have more time to do it. Most weeks I ask my husband and children for at least one meal suggestion for the week each, that way everyone definitely has a meal they like (they’re not a fussy bunch though) and everyone knows what the plan is. Having a menu plan also means that if I’m busy or working when Andrew gets home from work he can look at the plan and start cooking knowing that we’ve got the ingredients in.
6. We eat more healthily and more of a variety
Meal planning allows to to balance what we eat across the week. I find it particularly helpful in making sure I don’t serve cheese with every meal and that over the week we have a range of different meats, carbs and vegetables.