For someone who likes making list, I am surprisingly bad at meal planning. I guess it boils down to simply making and taking the time for it. I used to be quite good at it as a student- mostly because I had to be (I didn’t have a car to drive to the grocery store). So depending on which way you look at it, I might be the best or the worst person to offer advice on the subject. Either way here goes!
1. Take the time
Set out one day a week to plan your meals- it only takes about 30 minutes. That time can easily be made up at the grocery store as you’ll no longer be wandering around aimlessly, waiting for inspiration to strike.
2. Gather inspiration
I like making use of multiple sources- this is the fun part for me! Gather recipes using multiple sources – cookbooks, magazines and Pinterest are all great sources (I’ve got over 400 ideas on my Pinterest board). If you don’t like these things, don’t fret! I also find Facebook a convenient source for delivering meal ideas straight to your news feed! I love Idees and Taste for delicious meals that are in season and easy to prepare. Do you have a favourite source of inspiration?
3. Take the elements into account
This is a weird step to include, but if you really want your meal planning game to be on fleek you’d take the weather into account. There is nothing worse than planning a soup for a sunny day when all you want to do is have a braai (don’t I know the feeling!). This step can be skipped if step 1 is already problematic.
4. Save it in writing
I like to plan a week in advance and sometimes decide to leave the weekends out of it if I know we might make other plans. Start by writing each day of the week and then write the meal you plan on preparing below. Bear in mind that some meals can be enjoyed over two days (these are my favourite kind!) Stick this to your fridge so that you don’t forget.
5. Leave room for spontaneity
Don’t plan your week out to the T only to have a quick braai with friends ruin it all. Prevent wasting food by leaving at least one day open to make spontaneous plans whether it is take-out, a dinner party or simply for last-minute inspiration. You don’t even have to know what you plan for that meal! In the same line of thought, I don’t buy all my fresh ingredients at the start of the week just in case your plans change mid-way through and you’re left with a whole bag of rotten spinach.
6. Visit your stock cupboards
The final step involves getting up from the couch and going to see what you already have and what you might still need in order to prepare the meals you’ve planned. Taking a list to the store always makes me feel less scatterbrained.
Let me know if this or any other tips help you keep up with the planning as I can do with all the help I can get!