Weekly Meal Planning Made Easy

Did you learn weekly meal planning at school? I know I didn't! So where do you start? In fact, why bother at all?

When you consider the benefits, you might decide it is a wise move. Let's look at some of them...

  • It will save you money
  • It relieves stress when you get home from work, hungry
  • It reduces waste
  • It can keep you healthy

Even the smallest amount of planning can help. 

When I first got married, I bought myself a hardback notebook. I still have it, and find it amazing when I look through it now, and see the prices of food back in the 80s. But let's not go there!

In my book I wrote down a selection of recipes I fancied cooking in the following week. Then I went through each one and checked what ingredients I didn't already have. I wrote my shopping list and that was my weekly meal planning done and dusted!

There is more to it than that, though. 

Frugal meal planning

Weekly meal planning is especially important if money is tight.

Beware impulse buys, as again they can throw your plans. Meaning you may end up spending more than you intended. 

By all means take advantage of special offers, but think first. Will you need to buy extra ingredients to serve with the bargain products? Are you saving money or spending more? 

If you fail to plan first, you could end up buying products that are already in your pantry. Using those up, especially if their use-by date is approaching, would be more sensible.

Also investigate ways of using any leftovers the next day, to avoid wastage.

Who are you feeding?

You also need to think about WHO you are feeding in the coming week.

  • Are you cooking meals for one?
  • Do you have a family to feed?
  • Do you need to provide kid friendly meals?
  • Will you be entertaining guests in the next week?
  • Will you need to cater for anyone with allergies or intolerances?

Weekly meal planning for a balanced diet

To keep our bodies in tip top shape we need to give them the correct fuel. Not enough of us eat a well balanced diet.  

My page on healthy meal planning will give you some simple guidelines. This will ensure that you incorporate all the major food groups.

Your family's schedule

If you work outside the home, try to pick simple recipes that won't take ages to prepare.  Or can you get part of the preparation done before leaving in the morning? This may enable you to put the evening meal on the table sooner. 

Maybe that stew could be cooking in the crockpot while you are out, ready to serve when you return?

Does everyone in your home sit down together to eat in the evening? Or do you feel peckish long before your partner is due home? Maybe you have an evening appointment, and will have eaten and gone out before anyone else gets home from work? Don't stress yourself out by picking recipes that need serving immediately. Choose something that can be reheated when required, instead.

cooking together

Alternatively why not check out my pages on once a month or once a week cooking. 

Need to pack up a lunch for the next day? Can you make use of leftovers from the night before? Perhaps you will want to cook extra on purpose? Be sure to consider this, when you do your weekly meal planning and create your grocery shopping list.

Appearance

Think about the colour of the foods you serve, bright orange carrots, green broccoli, red tomatoes, yellow corn and golden chips will appeal to your eye much more than steamed white fish, boiled white potatoes and cauliflower!

Treat your eyes as well as your stomach!

weekly meal planning

The three T's

What are the three T's to keep in mind when doing your weekly meal planning? Taste, Texture and Temperature! The more you can vary these the better.

You might love the taste of curry for example, but you most likely wouldn't want it for every meal, or your taste buds might end up a little jaded. A few more delicately flavoured meals might help to ring the changes.

The same goes for texture. Serving a smooth, creamy main course followed by a smooth, creamy dessert, at every meal would get a little boring. It is better to throw in some crunchiness or chewiness as well, to give variety.

Try not to serve all cold dishes, or all hot, at a meal. Salad followed by ice cream might be lovely for a summer lunch, but normally you would aim for a mix of hot and cold. Also remember that temperature comes from the herbs and spices that you add to your food, as well as the physical temperature that you cook it at!

Download your planner

To help you with your weekly meal planning I have created a 7 day meal planner for you to download.

I will also walk you through an example of filling your weekly meal planner with tasty, nutritious meals that don't cost the earth to put together.