“What’s for dinner?” has got to be the most dreaded question in any household… but it doesn’t have to be!
In this blog post we discuss the 4 benefits of meal planning and 3 easy spring recipes to get you started!
What is meal planning?
Meal planning is exactly what it sounds like - planning your meals in advance - And it’s not just dinner either.
But how can meal planning benefit you directly?
More time for yourself
What does a normal week look like for you? How much time do you spend racing to the supermarket for last minute ingredients, or just indecisively pondering over what you’ll actually have for a meal?
The key to more me-time is organisation and time management!
If planning your life in advance sounds daunting, it’s easier to change your perspective, so you can see all the things you WILL have time for - Getting around to reading that book that’s now just collecting dust on your shelf, watching that TV show your friends are raving about, more time for your hobbies that you neglect because you ‘don’t have enough time’.
There are aspects in your life that you don’t have control over, having an idea of what food you’re going to be consuming may seem small in the grand scheme of things - but it’s a start to better managing your time!
You WILL save money
You may not realise it, but meal planning is a huge money saver.
Impulse buys, frozen meals for lazy nights you don’t feel like cooking, and not spending the time to look for the best deals and prices will cost you hundreds if not thousands every year!
Some ways to save money on your grocery shop every week or fortnight include:
- Setting aside time to look through online supermarket catalogues to ensure you’re finding items at the best price
- Shopping for your fruit and veg at local farmers markets or independent stores
- Buying in bulk and freezing food
- Making things from scratch - such as sauces, dressings and baked goodies
Start keeping records of your shopping with a budget planner and compare them to what you were spending even just a few weeks ago - The results are apparent immediately, and will only grow over time.
Less food waste
Food wastage is a global issue. Each year in Australia, we waste around 7.3 million tonnes of food – this wastage equals about 300kg per person or one in five bags of groceries.
Meal planning allows us to take more control over what is being prepared in our households, so we can be a part of the solution, not the problem.
Some ways to reduce food wastage in your home if you’ve got kids is to:
- Dish up their food for them with an appropriate portion size - Sometimes kids have eyes bigger than their stomachs, piling mountains of food onto their plate and throwing more than half away
- Make time in your week to sit down with your kids to discuss what foods they like to eat for dinner - This is going to be especially helpful if you’ve got kids who are picky eaters!
- Pack their left over dinner in their lunchbox for school the next day - Even on weekends this will save you time preparing a meal for them - Just give them last night’s leftovers.
Say goodbye to impulse buys
Have your children ever guilt tripped you into a chocolate bar or an ice cream at the supermarket? Of course they have - a few dollars spent to prevent tantrums in the middle of a busy supermarket is a NO brainer.
But it’s these kinds of impulse buys that over time, can accumulate to hundreds of dollars - money that could’ve been spent on something more worthwhile and a little less sugar filled.
Meal planning also helps YOU to stop reaching for those expensive ‘ready-made’ meals that we tend to gravitate towards at the end of a busy week, or when we’re feeling especially lazy - It happens!
And it also encourages you to buy less unhealthy Take-Out food.
Apps like Uber Eats and Menulog make it incredibly easy to get food delivered straight to your door, BUT there’s a price to pay for convenience - Delivery fees can start from $8 and you can be left waiting for more than 60 minutes for your meal.
When you plan your meals, you’re less susceptible to the ‘treat yourself’ mentality, which can be a costly habit to maintain - Trust us, your wallet will thank you later!
Spring Recipes for you to try at home!
Need a little extra help with your meal planning?