Weekly Meal Planning
I'm an enthusiastic meal-planner from way back - living on one wage, wanting to reduce food waste and eat reasonably healthy have all been incentives to make this a regular routine. I'll admit that sometimes I fall out of the habit, and both my health and our bank balance notice pretty quickly! Making less frequent trips to the bulk food store and supermarket also cuts down on the petrol we use - saving even more money and emissions.
As we all face a range of new challenges negotiating the COVID-19 lockdown, one that stands out is the need to be prepared in the food department. With far fewer stores open, reduced grocery delivery slots available, travel and shopping restrictions in place and no takeaway options, we need to establish a regular shopping and cooking routine.
As comfortable as I am with meal planning, I sometimes fall into a weird trap of forgetting which meals to choose from. What do we all like as a family? (Or - what does the majority of the family like, amirite?!) Which meals can I cook in a hurry? What will give us bonus lunches or leftovers for the freezer? And how can I make sure we eat a variety of dinners?
I put together the meal planner below for my own personal use, and have just tweaked it ever so slightly so that others can benefit from it too. Each night includes a few different ideas of meal "types" we enjoy, and you can use your own creativity to come up with a number of options within each category. For example, when I sit down to put together that week's plan, I might feel like having curry that Wednesday instead of noodles or fried rice. Then within that broad meal type, I could choose between any variation such as chickpea and spinach/ pumpkin and lentil/ Thai beef/ dahl/ potato and chickpea/ butter chicken/ fish and veggie coconut curry etc.
You can download the Weekly Meal Plan HERE.
Feel free to swap in meal ideas that work for you and your family! The key to making meal planning work is to:
- choose a range of foods so you don't get bored week after week
- have a mix of budget options alongside some more expensive ones
- try and keep a balance between foods which the majority of the household enjoy, and other meals which might introduce new flavours or encourage experimentation
I hope this resource helps you in some way! Please leave a comment below with your feedback, I'd love to know how this works for you and your household.