I’ve just conducted a little experiment. This week I didn’t actively meal plan. I had a stash of semi-meals in the freezer: yakitori chicken sticks, marinated lamb cutlets, teriyaki chicken, mini muffins, fritters, sugo, beef for carnitas etc, but I didn’t work out what I was going to do night by night. I guess having that stuff ready to go meant that there was never really going to be a risk of not getting dinner on the table… but everything was a little uncertain.
And you know what? It hasn’t been good. It’s seemed liked harder work, I’ve gone to the supermarket twice, it’s all been a little chaotic! I don’t think it’s good for us. It doesn’t work.
So next week, I’m back to meal planning for the week. Now, don’t get me wrong, I certainly have some flexibility in my meal plans, but I like knowing what we are having for dinner. It’s a way of instilling a little calm in our otherwise slightly crazy lives.
So if like me you haven’t had a meal plan: pop over and check out this article I wrote a while ago for mamabake.com about getting dinner out for the kids from the freezer.
My meal plan method:
Look at what you’ve got, what you want to make and what you’ll need to buy. If you do your meal plan before going shopping make a list and sort it out properly so you get everything for those meals.
Be realistic: don’t set a three course dinner plan out for the night when you’ve got kids activities or when you know the kids will be tired.
Give yourself a night off- whether it’s something from the freezer or a meal out.
Collect the recipes together for the week and make sure you remember what you bought things for.
Prep what you can in advance. Don’t freeze something that you’re going to want to marinade. Marinade and then freeze because during the freezing time it is marinating and during defrosting it is marinating even more, making it super yummy.
Double batch at least one thing per week. That means you’ve got leftovers for another time. It helps out on nights when nothing is going to plan and means you have a babysitter-proof meal good to go.
Bake freezable treats for lunchboxes to free up time in the mornings. That time can then be used to get dinner in the slowcooker!