An important aspect of successful meal planning is timing. When you draw up your meal plan one of the main components you need to keep in mind is your daily routine and how much time you have to make that particular meal.
A couple of weeks ago I made a new recipe for the first time, Beef Wellington. I planned it for a Wednesday night. This was not a well thought out idea. The reason I chose Wednesday is that I work half day, so I knew I would have the time to make this meal and there would be no rush. The only clever timing choice about the Wednesday was that it did take me 3 hours to make the Wellingtons. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/my-month-with-gordon/
My timing was a little off. I needed liver pate, being strictly kosher, I can only get this from one or two sources and they only make this for Friday as a Sabbath treat! I was two days too early.
Timing for your menu makes your life easier. If you have a lot of extra murals, you don’t want to plan a meal that is going to take an hour if you will only be home at 7pm.
For moms with children doing extra murals (especially in winter) my suggestion is to use a slow cooker. I love the convenience of chucking everything into one pot in the morning, turning it on low and leaving the house. By 5pm the house smells wonderful and dinner is ready. The other convenience is everyone can help themselves (if they are old enough) according to their times.
Another consideration for timing is finger food. If you are going to be running around during the children’s dinner time, why not plan to make wraps? These can also be made ahead, wrapped and kept in the fridge, for everyone to eat later in the car. Wraps are a healthier alternative to take out and cheaper too.
Give meal planning a try and see how much easier it makes your life.
Planning for 3 meals a day is important when you are trying to follow a healthier eating plan.
Starting off well
Breakfast is purported to be the most important meal of the day as it helps to kick start your metabolism after a 6-8 hour fast (sleep).
One aspect of meal planning is that you are able to plan your meals according to you and your family’s activity levels.
What your first meal of the day should be, depends entirely on what activities you will be doing during the morning.
Fuel for the day
For adults at a desk job, who go straight from home to the office, or go via the schools, you want to plan a meal that is low GI and low carbs as you will not be expending too much energy.
However, you still need to eat something that will keep you feeling satisfied, at least until your tea break.
Eating to exersise
On the other hand, if you are stopping off at the gym for a workout, you will need to plan your breakfast accordingly.
A cardio workout allows you to have a little extra in the carbohydrate department, while a strength workout would require you to take in a little more protein for your first meal of the day.
The midday meal
Lunch should be your biggest meal of the day. However, for most of us it is a hasty meal at our desks. Once again, when planning your lunch meal, you need to take into account what you will be doing in the afternoon.
A daycare worker may require higher energy producing foods than an executive, no matter how busy you are.
What’s for dinner?
The evening meal should be lighter and more easily digested than the midday meal as you will most likely be going to sleep a few hours after you have eaten.
This meal should also be the lowest GI as you want it to keep your blood sugar level fairly constant throughout the night.
A low GI food is a food that will keep you feeling full for longer as it helps to keep your blood sugars on an even keel.
When your blood sugar drops, you are left feeling hungry and often craving for something sweet. Eating fruit first thing in the morning can keep you going till lunch time but be careful, not all fruit is low GI.
Apples, oranges, peaches, cherries are a good low GI fruit, while watermelon is definitely not! If you are going to the gym then a banana would be good, along with raisins and other melons.
Healthy eating is about conscious eating and meal planning plays an important role in this.
If you are not following any type of eating plan, why not try a little experiment? For two days keep a food diary. Every time you eat anything, write it down. Next, try and create a meal plan just for the following two days and watch your eating habits change.
Remember that meal planning is best done after a meal, so that you are less inclined to put high energy or comfort foods into your plan.
Organised Chaos Calendars
Creating a calendar for the family, helps avoid the clashing of schedules. I know in our house we often seem to go for ages with nothing and then 5 events on one day.
How many do you have?
If your school has 20 children in a class and you have 3 children that could potentially be 60 birthday parties! There are only 52 weeks in a year. This is bound to result in clashes. We haven’t even started with the adults yet.
Let’s cut down to a family with only two children, plus two parents who each have one sibling and two parents. The parents’ siblings also have two children this now takes family birthdays to 16 birthdays for family alone. Granted not everyone is going to have a party, but you still need to keep track of milestones. Things like anniversaries and major birthdays.
Now add in extra murals, and possibly concerts or competitions that go with the extra murals. School sports days and exhibitions that need to be attended, work functions or training that you need to be at and you can begin to see the importance of a family calendar.
Remember you need to add in dentist, doctor and other appointments to the calendar as well and suddenly your calendar is full.
My family calendar not only has birthdays and anniversaries on it, it also includes Jewish holidays and the getting sorted plan, plus my meal planning blog ideas. School holidays add vacations need to be written on so that you don’t double bookings.
To keep track I use different colours for different events. As all my children are teenagers, we have fewer parties but more social events. I use a write and wipe wall calendar and use a permanent marker for events that are not going to change. Birthdays, anniversaries, Jewish Holidays and school terms are all in permanent marker. I use a second colour for meal planning (blog ideas and clients planning), and for Getting Sorted, and another for parties and special events.
One of the most important aspects of this calendar is to update it regularly. Put it in a place where everyone in the household can see it.
I also have emergency and important phone numbers in permanent marker on my calendar.
Are you on the Facebook group, why not join us if you haven’t yet? https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted/
Do you have a family calendar? I would love for you to share your ideas with us.