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4 Steps To Successful Meal Planning

One of the things we have to do as adults is plan, prepare and cook food to eat, everyday! Sometimes this is such a chore! As parents this can become more of an effort as we try to provide healthy and delicious food for our families while still keeping everyone happy AND doing it all in as little time as possible while our little ones are at our feet!

I have always tried to be an organised person and one thing I like to do is plan our meals ahead of time. Over the years I have honed my craft when it comes to getting this down pat. If you feel like you need to create a new habit when it comes to organising your weekly meals or if you just want to get a better system in place, please read on now! I have it down to just 4 easy steps to follow each week to ensure your weekly dinners are sorted.

Remember to adjust and make it work with your schedule but the key is to schedule in this time each week so that it becomes a habit as part of your weekly to-do’s and reduces the stress and overwhelm you may feel right now when you think about preparing dinners!

1.) Plan the meals – This is the part that can take the longest depending on how good you are at making decisions… I usually start thinking about my meals for the next week on a Wednesday night and start by putting into my phone (in Notes) what next week’s meals are going to be that I have selected. If I don’t have a meal for everyday that is fine, it is always nice to leave a couple of nights open for takeaway or going out for dinner if this is within your budget. I aim to plan 4-5 meals per week and then have easy frozen foods in the freezer and 2-minute noodles in the pantry ready to go if needed one night that I haven’t planned for OR if things change! Yes, it is ok if you get to Tuesday night and cannot be bothered cooking after a big day, keep that meal for the next night and go for an easier option, your plans can change!

2.) Write the shopping list - Next, I write out my shopping list (I actually do this by using an app on my phone so I never forget to take the shopping list to the supermarket! You might prefer to have a list that you write on that is on your fridge or on the kitchen bench). It is important to do two things when writing out your list; Ask your family to tell you or to write down on the list themselves when they finish something so you don’t have to go searching to see what is missing in the pantry. Also, it is important to check your cupboards and fridge/freezer for items that are on your list before you go and buy them. Don’t buy anything unless you have checked for it at home first, that leads to overspending.

3.) Shop and meal prep – The next thing to do is the shopping and meal prep. Once I have decided on the meals and created my list then I can choose a time that suits me to do an online order (usually Thursday or Friday nights). This way, I can collect my order quickly on a Saturday or Sunday depending on our weekend plans. If I do go to the supermarket, I have gotten really good at sticking to my list (unless there are epic specials that I can’t go past at the end of the aisles…) but online is definitely the easiest way to stick to your list. As you do the order, cross off what you have selected from your list. The last part of this step can vary for everyone depending on how prepared for meals you want to be. Meal prep is important as that one hour of prep can save 20 minutes per meal during the busy weeks so this is up to you… I like to wash, cut and store the fruits and vegetables as well as cut and bag up fruits for juices (hubby and I have a fresh juice most mornings). I even like to cut chicken or other meats if needed for stir fries/curries before freezing them so that it saves me time when it comes to cooking it mid-week after work.

4.) Share the plan with family – At the beginning of the week I enter the meal plan onto a magnetic meal planner that goes on our fridge so that everyone in the family can see what is for dinner this week (this is to prevent them asking me ten times a day, “Mum, what’s for dinner?”). Not only does it ensure everyone knows but it keeps you accountable with what to cook. It also helps you to remember to look at it the night before in case you need to get meat out of the freezer etc.

Ok, so that is my 4 steps to meal planning success. Like I said, adjust it to suit your schedule but if you work out when is the best times to do these 4 things and schedule them into your week, you will become far more efficient at it and it will save you time and energy thinking about it all.



Hi! I’m Chalkie.

I want to empower you to feel confident as a parent and to help you gain clarity about your parenting role!

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