In theory, meal planning is simple and straightforward, but following through can be painstaking and tedious; here’s how to show your meal plan who’s boss!
In this blog post, we discuss how to meal plan like a pro and the key factors to maintaining, and being consistent with your meal plan.
Enjoy what you cook, cook what you enjoy
Meal planning is a mindset, one that’s easy to falter when it begins to feel like a chore or it becomes unenjoyable, so choose meals that you enjoy eating because the pay-off is worth it!
It’s easy to plan meals in theory, most of us will make choices based on presentation and how healthy meals seem, but raise your hand if you ACTUALLY enjoy those meals…
Common mistakes that are made when meal planning include:
- Picking a meal you don’t enjoy just because it’s ‘healthy’
- Having no variety
- Copying meals from a template
- Using overly elaborate meals that are time-consuming
Meal planning and dieting are different things - whilst it’s good to have variety in your diet, you're allowed to cook meals that you can look forward to, there are no rules!
Don’t limit yourself to kale and spinach, plan meals that not only taste great, but meals you’ll look forward to eating.
Write it ALL down
While our phones are versatile and can function as our planners, diaries and photo albums all-in-one, nothing beats putting pen to paper.
When embarking on your meal planning journey it’s important to write everything down. There’s probably an abundance of recipes you’ve saved in a random bookmarks folder on your desktop because you told yourself you’d ‘try them one day’ - Well that day has come!
Our Combo Meal Planners are a good place to start.
Meal planning can be overwhelming for anyone, but especially families, people with allergies and vegetarians/vegans - so take time to write everything down including your thoughts, ideas, potential obstacles, shopping budget, meals you would like to try & your favourites.
Our top tip is to keep everything centralised - there’s nothing worse than forgetting your shopping list because you didn’t keep it with your meal planner...
Be a Realist
Unless you’re a chef, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be cooking gourmet meals every night - remember to be realistic when meal planning, we can’t all be Jamie Oliver (unfortunately).
Before meal planning, check your calendar and make note of any commitments or events that will coincide with your planning - For example, if you know Thursday’s are a particularly busy day for you, plan a simple meal or make extra food Wednesday night so that you can just heat up leftovers.
Be smart with your time, while no one wants to eat spag bol every night, you don’t want to spend hours cooking every night.
Have contingency plans in place too (because life is always unpredictable) - Try stocking meals that contain non-perishables in your kitchen, freezing meals and ensure to jot it down on your grocery list if you ever get short.
Make a list
Simple mistakes occur when lists aren’t made - no matter how many times you’ve made a meal, when you’re out grocery shopping for 7+ meals and household goods, it’s easy to forget something.
A shopping list is essential. Keeping your shopping list right next to your meal plan, like our Combo Meal Planner notepads, is a great way to double-check you haven’t missed anything! Then simply tear away the shopping list to take with you when you hit the grocery store.
There’s also a bit of fun in ticking off every item on your shopping list, grocery shopping becomes more enjoyable and you won’t forget anything.