Cassie from The Flying Drunken Monkey has kindly written a guest post for me. Do you plan your meals? Or do you start pondering at 5.04 pm just what you are going to cook that day?
What would happen if you sat down and planned a week’s meals, rather than purchasing a pre packaged meal at the supermarket, at the very last minute.
Cassie gives us something to ponder about:-
6 Benefits of Meal Planning
I’ve been meal planning for about 2 years now. I never thought I would be the type of person to meal plan – I’ve never been very organised and wouldn’t have thought I would be so rigid with what we eat and when.
However, meal planning has been one of the best things I’ve done since becoming a stay at home mum!
1. It saves time!
Saves time? Really?! Having to choose meals and write them all down and everything?! Well, yes actually it does. It may take at most half an hour on a Saturday evening (yes I have a fun life!) to sit and work out the week but it means I’m set for the rest of the week. No fluffing around, trying to work out what to cook each night, no stuffing around at the supermarket trying to work out what to buy.
2. It saves money!
Of course, this totally depends on what you plan. If you plan a week of exciting, fancy meals containing lobster and caviar then it’s going to cost a bit more than your usual week! But meal planning allows you to be more frugal. By looking at your meals for the week you are able to see when you can reuse ingredients and when you can use cheaper ingredients. You save more at the supermarket as you go in with a plan and don’t get sucked in (as much!) by impulse buys. You can plan to use up meat from the freezer or veggies that have gone a bit soft. You also save money by not impulse buying takeaway when it’s just too hard to work out what to cook!
3. It makes cooking interesting!
It can be easy to become uninspired and stuck in a rut when you have to come up with a meal each night. However, meal planning every week forces you to look for recipes and meal ideas and become more creative. I buy lots of recipe magazines and trawl Pinterest looking for interesting new recipes and my repertoire has expanded substantially.
4. It improves your cooking skills!
Before I started meal planning there were few meals that I felt confident cooking. Mr Monkey is a chef so was able to give me tips but I simply didn’t have experience with many different cooking styles. It got pretty boring cooking spaghetti Bolognese week after week! When I started meal planning I started to find recipes that expanded on the skills I already had plus helped me to branch out in to the new ones. I had time to study the recipes and learn the techniques. I still wasn’t very good but by planning to cook the meals again in following weeks I was able to get better.
5. It’s surprisingly fun!
I only ever used to read trashy or fashion magazines but now I find I’m obsessed with recipe magazines. I love finding new recipes and I love putting together the meal plan.
6. It helps you be healthy!
If done “correctly” this is a big benefit! By focusing on planning each meal you can ensure that your family is eating a well-balanced diet. I try to ensure that we eat a range of proteins, including at least 1 vegetarian meal, each week.
I can also check that we are eating a range of side dishes and eating a good amount of vegetables.
As you can see there are many great benefits to meal planning! Including others I probably haven’t mentioned here.
I shared my process for meal planning on my blog and I also share my meal plans each week if you are after some inspiration.
Cheers and happy meal planning!
Cassie blogs at the Flying Drunken Monkey about her struggle against housework, meal planning, her family and her struggles with anxiety.
My Meal plan for week commencing 22nd March:
Saturday – Vegetable soup – lot of limp looking veges from last week with be mixed with fresh veges and chicken stock to make a delicious soup with lemon and lashing of bread
Sunday – Feta and spinach in Filo pastry with Asian salad
Monday – Roast chicken with Sage and onion stuffing
Tuesday – Tuna Pasta
Wednesday – Roast Turkey with Roast vegetables
Thursday – leftover Turkey and salad, plus Pumpkin soup
Friday – Meatloaf
Something to ponder about