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It’s in the planning

This week’s tasks are my passion. This is what I do! Meal planning!

Meal planning is a fantastic way to save money, to save you time and to feed your family a healthy meal. It helps you spend more time with your family. I have included a ton of links in this week’s post as I write about this topic almost weekly. I also have meal planners that you can download and print.Monthly Menu Planner and Shopping List

Monthly menu plan

Meal Planning

Day 1- Meal planning is not as difficult as it seems. One of the most important aspects of how meal planning can help, is your grocery shopping. When you did your pantry, fridge and freezer, you were asked to create an inventory.  Now is when you put that inventory to use. You literally will be shopping in your cupboards. I have had so many posts on this subject that I am not writing a lot here but rather posting all the links, including the links to the next workshop and to the service I offer, which is I-PLAN.   This is where I plan your meals for you each month and supply you with your individualised shopping list. May Meal and Menu PlanningA taste of menu planning3 Steps to Mastering Your Grocery Bill, A taste of menu planning

Market Research

Day 2- In all good businesses, market research must be done and with meal planning this is no different. If you have a household with even mildly fussy eaters, this step is vital. Find out what your family likes and dislikes. Generally, most of us know what our families eat.  What I did was find out their favourite meals. I am blessed with a family that isn’t too fussy about food; I am also blessed with 4 children, so between 6 of us I am able to mostly make each person’s favourite meal (mostly) or use their favourite ingredient in a meal.Is your kitchen a restaurant?

It doesn’t matter if you make the same thing every week or even every month. If this is what your family wants, then make it.  It will save you aggravation and prevent you from having to throw away food that no one wants to eat.

Choosing meals for our meal plan
Choosing meals for our meal plan

Allow the family to vote when you try something new.  That way you will know if it was a success or not.

A 2 week Plan

Day 3- Your task today is to create a 2 week meal plan of dinners. I use a template along with the family preferences to help me draw up a plan each month. I don’t only plan dinner, I also plan school and work lunches, as well as the after school lunches. When drawing up your plan, make sure to try and use what you already have in your home as this will help you avoid unnecessary shopping. Weekly menu planner and shopping list

This is the template I use, which I adjust from time to time, when something no longer suits our lifestyle.

Monday- Meat free.  We have macaroni and cheese at least twice a month and I also use vegetarian products to make meat free versions of dishes my family likes.

Tuesday- because I enjoy cooking and finish work at the latest by 5 pm, I am able to experiment. So on this night, it is my night to try a new recipe.

Wednesday – On the table in less than 30 minutes, I have a standing appointment at 7:30 pm each week and often only get home from work around 5:30-6pm, I need to make dishes that are quick to prepare and cook.

Thursday – Mince night. My family love mincemeat, so I rotate mince recipes. We have spaghetti and mince, meatballs and rice, taco’s, sloppy Joe’s, mince pie, ragout, cottage pie etc.

Friday- This is the start of our Sabbath, so the meal is always a little special and usually includes a starter and a desert

Saturday – After Sabbath we aren’t usually that hungry, so it is often left overs

Sunday- We have a big lunch almost every Sunday at my mother so for supper it is usually eggs or takeaways.

Remember this is my template, yours needs to be designed to suit your family and lifestyle.

This magnetic menu board is great and you can write your grocery list on it.
This magnetic menu board is great and you can write your grocery list on it.

The list

Day 4- Once you have drawn up your meal plan it is time to draw up the grocery list. Write down all the ingredients you need, then look at your inventory and shop in your own home first. Cross off all the ingredients you already have and you will be left with only what you really need to buy. Grocery list

Not only is meal planning away to save money, but it will also prevent your pantry cupboard, fridge and freezer from becoming overly full as well as you not having to throw out so much.

When you are ready, besides the recipes in this blog, there is also a great site that allows you to type in what you have on hand and it will find the recipes for you. http://myfridgefood.com

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