Meal planning for your week
Wait it isn't what you think
No don’t run away, this isn’t one of that ' download a complete meal plan’ things I promise.
I have never been able to stick with this stuff, having someone else tell me what I have to buy, prepare and eat for the week seems to do something to me, it must be my inner rebel coming out.
My other main issue with the ‘download me’ meal plans is that there are a lot of things on them that we just don’t or can’t eat, they don’t offer alternatives for these situations, so you end up duplicating something else of the plan.
My solution - ignore those meal plans and make my own!
It's about the approach
There are a couple of ways to approach your food plan, depending on your situation you can start with your budget or with your food wants.
It’s a good idea to figure out any days that you won’t be home to eat, I would recommend still making a plan for a meal on that day, that way you will always have a backup meal in the freezer or lunch just in case.
We tend to start with the meat as it is the base of each of our meals. I figure out what meat to have across the week, I try not to repeat a meat two days in a row so a week may start like this
Then we start the idea session, I throw around ideas for meals and get a yes or no for each type, to make my life a little easier and plan in at least one slow cooked meal and one meal that will take no more than 20 minutes to cook in the oven.
If I have a new idea or recipe to try out I tend to plan that for a Friday when I know I have more time to play after work. So post idea session the meal plan may look something like this;
· Chicken – Chicken curry and lemon roasted cauliflower
· Beef – Beef Moussaka
· Pork – Thai pork balls and coodles
· Fish – Salmon steaks with buttered greens and sunny sweet potatoes
· Lamb – Greek lamb burgers with feta and salad buns
· Chicken – Chicken salad with nut free pesto
· Pork - BBQ ribs and sweet potato chips
That is 7 days of dinners planned and 5 days of lunches if you account for leftovers from each dinner during the week.
Next plan out your breakfasts, we start with a base of eggs as they are the best way to start the day.
Aim for three mornings of cooked eggs in whatever format you like, try to add in a portion of vegetables with the eggs and then add the essential ingredient …..Bacon.
· Omelette – Spinach, red pepper, spring onion and bacon
· Scrambled eggs with fresh kale and bacon
· Spinach, spirulina, strawberry and banana smoothie with protein or raw eggs
· Omelette – asparagus, green pepper, spinach and kale with bacon served on top
· Kale, Spirulina, strawberry, blueberry smoothie with protein or raw eggs
· Poached eggs with bacon and sweet potato hash browns
· Poached egg salad with …… bacon
There it is, a food plan for the week that gives you a meal of easy, clean and real food each day.
Use the food plan to write your shopping list – I use a really cool app called Out of Milk, it lets me load in my favourite recipes and add the ingredients to my shopping list, you can also use it to keep track of the items in your pantry and share shopping lists with others.
I meal plan one day, shop the next and do food preparation once I have shopped, this means that everything that can be done in advance is and ready to be pulled out of the freezer.
If you are working to a strict budget for your meal plan, it is a good idea to plan your meals around the vegetables that are in season and meats that are on offer. I try to shop seasonally and stock up on some fruits and vegetables when they are dirt cheap, this way we save money later in the year.
Working to a strict budget can lead to using the same ingredients for a few meals during a week, but there are plenty of ways to make your food more exciting and less repetitive.
That is it, simple but effective. You now have a plan that will keep the hungry people from becoming hangry people.