I have really been getting in the swing of meal planning AND freezer cooking over the last few years. I have gotten so confident with my own process that I wanted to share a few of my tips and hints behind how I successfully meal plan, use my freezer to save time and money each week and actually stick to our meal plan!
- Each night check your meal plan for the following day and ask these questions:
- Do you need to take anything out of the freezer to defrost overnight? (My worst habit is forgetting to take my beautifully prepared meals out of the freezer to defrost!)
- Does anything need extra preparation time that requires you to do a little legwork now?
- Do you need to purchase anything for tomorrow nights’ meal?
- Plan foods that you and your family love. Pretty simple theory behind this one. The more you enjoy the meals you have planned, the more likely you are to stick to the plan!
- Don’t set yourself up for failure – if you know your family like to get takeaway once or twice a week, add it to the meal plan. No it isn’t ideal, but it doesn’t hurt if you balance the rest of the week with healthy home cooked meals. If you have soccer training on Thursday nights, don’t plan a meal that will take you an hour to prepare. It’s not realistic.
- Life doesn’t always go the way you plan.. And neither do meal plans!
Some people put too much pressure on themselves to make the exact thing you planned for, and some people avoid meal planning altogether in case they don’t “feel” like eating the thing they originally planned. We have prepared meals and I do plan to have them on specific days, but we always have the option of having one of the other meals I’ve planned to make if we don’t feel like it, don’t have time, or life throws another curve ball our way.
In fact, just to give you an example, here is my meal plan from last fortnight and what we ACTUALLY ate!
Monday – Veggie Stir Fry
Tuesday – Beef Stroganoff
Wednesday – Tuna Mornay NOPE! And I don’t even remember what we actually ate…
Thursday – Spaghetti
Friday – Jaffles Daniel got home from school camp and asked for pizza, so no, we certainly didn’t have Jaffles
Saturday – Tacos I read the wrong weeks meal plan, so we had cold meats, salad and some party pies and sausage rolls for tea
Sunday – Roast Chook Aaron and I got take away on our way home from dropping the kids back to their mums house
Monday – Spaghetti Left overs
Tuesday – Chicken and Leek pie
Wednesday – Pasta bake Left over Chicken and Leek pie! Yum
Thursday – Meatballs, Mash and Veg
Friday – Teriyaki Chicken Pizza…. (FOR SHAME)
Saturday – World’s Best Chicken I had my Hen’s Night and Aaron ate out too!
Sunday – Enchiladas
Everyone has their moments where they don’t feel like a particular food, or in our case as you can see we had a really lazy busy couple of weeks. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t stick to your plan!
The plan is a guide that helps you stay more organised. But if the plan no longer suits your family for whatever reason, ditch it!!!!!
We have been eating so much better over the past few years since I started meal planning and freezer cooking. It makes it a lot easier for me working nights, and we only spend $135 per week on groceries for three-six people (blended families, am I right?!).
Do you meal plan?
I love cooking but if I didn’t meal plan, I think we’d have pasta or take away every night!
Thanks for stopping by,