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Plan like a pro! Step 3

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Plan your meals

In step 3, I am going to talk about how to plan your meals.

Step 1 was all about getting to know your family’s likes and dislikes.http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/how-to-meal-plan-successfully-step-1/

In step 2 you get to know how to plan your grocery budget.

Time to make a plan

Now, it is time to choose what to make and when. I use a meal template to help with my decisions. You can read more about it. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/the-template/

Here is my template:-

Monday – Meatless (Vegan)

Tuesday -Vegetarian, so fish or cheese dishes

Wednesday – Mince

Thursday – Meat or Chicken

Friday – Chicken or Meat

Saturday – I make lunch but supper is leftovers

Sunday – I make lunch or we go to my mother. For dinner we have eggs

The first meals I plan are dinner/supper. I also plan my Wednesday meals first as they are easy to plan.

Meals with mince include burgers, bolognese, boerewors kebabs, taco’s and sloppy Joe’s

The next step in the process of planning is that I fill in the meals which came up as the most popular with my family.

These are macaroni and cheese and lasagna. So, that makes 3 Tuesdays accounted for, as I will make a tuna lasagna one week and a vegetable one another week.

Most of my family don’t like fish, except for canned tuna, but I do make actual fish once a month.

This month it is a comfort food choice. It is my meal choice and it is also a meal my family will eat!  Haddock in cheese sauce with spaghetti. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/recipes/cheesy-haddock-and-spaghetti-bake/

Thursday and Friday are the next meals I plan. These are often based on what season we are in.

As we are currently going into winter, stews and curries will feature heavily.

Thursday’s meals can be ‘dry’ meals, such as grilled or roast chicken and beef dishes that aren’t stews. I still make curries and stews as an option.

For Friday night, all meats or poultry are done in a gravy.

It is the Shabbos and the food is usually ready at least 2 hours before supper time and is going to sit in the warmer. Food must be cooked before the start of Shabbos. https://toriavey.com/what-is-shabbat/

With winter, my slow cookers are going to get a major workout. To keep costs down I often use cheaper cuts of meat which are usually also tougher and need longer cooking.

I also use my slow cooker a lot because I can put everything in it in the morning and leave it to cook through the day. When I get home from work in the evening, dinner is ready!

Saturday lunch is our big meal of the day and then the family can help themselves to leftovers for their evening meal.

Before lockdown, we generally went to my mother for Sunday lunch or got take out.

Monday night dinners are more time consuming to plan. Going the meatless Monday route was partially as a challenge for me to learn new cooking skills and as a way to reduce my food bills. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/going-meatless/

Monday is vegan which means no meat, chicken, fish or dairy of any kind. In a household of meat-eaters, this can be extremely challenging.

Creating meals that are filling, nutritious and vegan, means time searching the web for recipes.

Planning lunches also helps keep the troops fed and my budget down. During the normal school year, you send your child to school with lunch. With everyone at home at the moment and all stores closed, planning lunches has taken on a more important role.

Whether you are an essential worker or a staying at home during the lockdown, you need to eat.

With lunch meals planned, everyone gets food. Those who head off to work each day can take food from the day before and those at home get a meal that is healthy and filling in the hopes of keeping the ‘I’m hungry’ cry to a minimum. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/3-meals-a-day/

Whether you plan meals for a week or the whole month as I do, will have noticeable benefits to your budget and your general health.

If meal planning is not something you have done before, start with one or two days and then move to a week.

The choice to do monthly planning means I buy all my non-perishables at the same time and then go weekly for fresh produce.

Monthly shopping is only possible if you earn monthly, if you earn weekly, this will be more difficult.

If you decide to start meal planning, I would like to hear how it went.

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