16 Aug Meal Planning- why it should be at the top of your ‘To-Do’ list

Are you…too busy, too tired and too stressed to have time to prepare proper meals? I work with lots of busy women just like you.

Meal planning is one of those areas that can really cause stress if it’s not under control.  We all know what it is like to walk into the house after work or after collecting children from school activities and not having a clue about what we are going to make for dinner. Hurry, hurry, rush, rush, scramble, scramble – we end up grabbing something quick and easy that is not necessarily that good for us. Meal planning is one of the easiest things you can do to make your life healthier and better in general, but is one of the first things we neglect when life gets busy.

The good news is that it just takes a little bit of planning ahead of time to get this area of your life under control. Not only will your reduce stress, but you will save money, and make smarter food choices! Planning meals helps you manage your time better and it can turn a hectic week into one that is much less stressful. It can also help you improve your own personal health and the health of your family.

Follow these quick steps to get your meal planning under control:

Make a list of meals.

Get a piece of paper out and make a list of your family’s favourite meals. You’ll be much more likely to succeed at meal planning if everyone likes what’s put on the table or in their lunchbox. I like to look on line or in my recipe books for inspiration and aim to try one new recipe each week (of course some weeks are more successful than others.) This adds to the repertoire and keeps meal times interesting.

Design a menu for the week.

You can make your menus a week at a time, two weeks at a time, or a month at a time…whatever works best for you. I work a week in advance. Grab a blank sheet of paper and choose meals from your lists for each day of the week (breakfasts, lunches, and dinners). Keep in mind if you have certain days of the week that are busier than others…plan easier meals for those days.  Place your menus in a prominent place such as on the fridge so you can see it easily each day.

Make a shopping list.

Do this and you’ll never have to walk the supermarket aisles in a fog again! Take a look at the meals you have on your menus, check out the recipes, then make your grocery list based on what ingredients you need to buy. Don’t forget to check in with what you already have. It’s amazing how many ingredients we already have sitting in our pantry and fridge. If we can incorporate these in our meal plan and only shop for the extra ingredients you need you will save yourself some cash – bonus!

Hit the shops.  

Once you have your list in hand, go shopping! Try and shop mainly in the outside aisles as this is where all the fresh, unprocessed food is stocked. Stick to your list and don’t deviate. Come home, put your groceries away and pat yourself on the back. You are well prepared for the coming week.

Prepare meals.

By setting aside a small amount of time to prepare food for the coming week you are off to a good start. For me, a bit of time out on a Sunday helps set me up for the week ahead. You could cut up a whole lot of raw vegetables like celery, capsicum and carrot for healthy accessible snacks. You might like to prepare a batch of soup and possibly even a casserole. You could get the kids involved in making some homemade muffins or a loaf. Many things will keep in the fridge for at least a week, especially when packed in the appropriate containers.

I know this seems simplistic, but it really doesn’t need to be hard. Follow these easy steps, and you will be well on your way to being organised in this area of your life!

Let’s recap:

–          Meal planning is one of the best ways to make smarter food choices.

–          Preparing meals ahead of time saves time, money, headaches, calories.

–          Pick a few recipes and go grocery shopping with a list.

–          Keep healthy snacks on hand for when you aren’t able to eat a meal.

–          Have some meals pre-prepared in the fridge or freezer for those weeks when life gets in the way.

So could you benefit from an injection of order into your crazy, busy life? I can help you with a healthy pantry overhaul, help you with meal plans, food preparation and recipe suggestions. I can even take you on a shopping tour and teach you how to interpret food labels and make smarter food choices for you and your family. If this is something you would like to know more about, don’t hesitate to contact me. Together, we can get you back on track.

http://www.chasingsunrise.com.au/contact/

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