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How to meal plan successfully, step 1

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Meal plan successfully

Let’s start with step 1 for people who have never meal planned or who would like to plan better. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/meal-plan-budgeting/

Old Meal Plan
This is an old meal plan

For those stuck at home with their families, I am sure you are learning all sorts of new things about your family’s eating habits.

It is one of the reasons that step 1 is so important when meal planning.

What is step 1 your ask?

It is finding out what your family likes to eat and what they absolutely will not put in their mouths.

Each family member must write down five meals, foods, or ingredients that they love, and five that they hate.

Family likes list
This is only available for workshop attendees, but you can easily make your own

I am lucky there is very little that my family won’t eat. I have one ‘fussy’ eater, who managed to fill her won’t eat list with 4 items, everyone else had either 1 or 2 on the list.

Of the 7 of us, Brinjals and fish (except tuna) were written on the no go list by 4 members.

Eggplant, brinjal, aubergine
Eggplant, Brinjal,, Aubergine, this fruit is known by many different names

Now I know that during the lockdown, as much as I would love to make brinjals (eggplant) it isn’t going to be well received at the dinner table.

On the yes please side 5 of the 7 wrote down pizza on the list, followed closely by Mac and Cheese 4/7, lasagna or spaghetti Bolognese 3/7.

There were a few individual requests which I use for birthday dinners.

Some were as simple as ‘anything potato’ to ‘Beef Wellington’, this was from the same person! https://www.gordonramsay.com/gr/recipes/beef-wellington/

Beef Wellington
This was my very first attempt at a beef Wellington

There were requests for homemade burger patties and old standards like roast chicken.

Then there is the funny, as 2 people wrote ratatouille on their list of likes, they also wrote that they don’t like brinjals!

For the most part, if it contains meat my family is happy. I have one who loves burgers but hates mince!

How is this helpful?

Now that I know who eats what, I can look at the overlaps and stick to cooking those foods. Beef Wellington is not usually on the meal plan list except for a birthday meal as it takes ages to make and prep.

During the lockdown, it might as I am not working full time and do have 3 hours to ‘spare’, however, I need to take into account the reduced food budget that I now have and the fact that I am making more food than normal.

For a lot of members in my family, it is ingredients that they don’t like, not actual dishes, as evidenced by the Brinjal dislike but the ratatouille that they do like.

ratatouille
a very fancy ratatouille picture that I found on the net. Mine never looks this good.

Another example is that neither my husband nor I like raw celery but we both love celery soup.

Knowing likes and dislikes also help when you need to take into account issues like diabetes, gluten intolerance, lactose or dairy allergies, etc.

Using your family’s likes/dislikes lists it is time to begin meal planning. You have somewhere to start your recipe search.

You could also use the list as a chance for the family to learn to cook.

Time to get planning!

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