Organise Your Home: Meal Planning

{via lumesire on Flickr}

There seem to be two types of people in the world: those who plan their meals a week/fortnight/month in advance and shop accordingly, and those who decide each day what they want then go buy the ingredients.

You can break the latter down further into another two categories: those who are happy doing this, and those who find it stressful. If you’re one of those people who like to work out your meals each day, then this post may not be that useful to you. If, however, you want to get off the daily-meal-planning roundabout, then read on…

I’m a steadfast meal planner. It saves my sanity at about 4:00 every afternoon, and saves Sparky’s sanity when he’s doing the groceries on the weekend.

Our system isn’t complex or detailed, nor does it require any fancy forms, apps or templates.

Have A Plan of Attack

Here’s what to do:

  • Grab a piece of paper.
  • At the bottom of the page, list out Monday through Sunday, with two columns beside each day of the week.
  • Beside each day, write what you will have for dinner that night. Include the main dish and any sides. (Vegetable lasagne and green salad, for example)
  • ThenĀ  note any meals the kids won’t eat (if applicable, of course!) and add an alternative for them.
  • Write down your lunch options too. (This can be easy enough – Sparky and I batch cook something on Sunday for our lunches during the week and the kids eat sandwiches so this only requires one extra meal on the list).
  • Keep note of any standing arrangements you have. (We have takeaway on a Friday night, for example).
  • Note anything you need/want to bake during the week.

That’s it. Your Meals are Planned.

  • Then, using the same piece of paper, make your shopping list.
  • First run through each of the recipes, listing each ingredient, not forgetting the sides.
  • Then go through and add any fruit, staples, toiletries, cleaning supplies etc you might need.

Then, the best part (for me), I send Sparky and Isla on their way and an hour later, the groceries are done. Just like magic!

The Best Things About Meal Planning:

– we undoubtedly save money because we know exactly what we need when we shop
– it’s relatively quick and painless when we do go shopping – no agonising over ingredients in the aisles
– we avoid pressure purchases or spontaneous buys (with the exception of lollies. only sometimes though.)
– no more panicked trips to the shops during the week, when I’ve realised I forgot the cream. I don’t miss those at all.

Tell me, do you meal plan? Do you want to but don’t have the time/energy?


6 Responses to Organise Your Home: Meal Planning

  1. Well B… I want to and I NEED to. In our house it is worry about the kids getting lovely nutritious meals and cereal and/or toast for the adults.. I find it all good in theory but am not a super fan of eating – I just can’t be bothered half the time and am happy with a cup of tea (or a Haigh’s hot chocolate).. Unfortunately I am one that would rather not add to the already enormous mess in the kitchen and I do this by not bothering to prepare meals for the adults. Sometimes we have something flash but that would be the exception rather than the norm.. Not ideal, but with 3 under 4.5 who don’t sleep and a husband who travels a lot we are still just surviving! One day, bit thanks as usual for the inspiration.. xxx

    • Al, you know my hat’s off to you every day. You do a wonderful job – it shows in your gorgeous kiddies and your fabulous selves.
      (And breakfast cereal is nutritous – a perfectly acceptable dinner!)

      Can’t wait til December!! X

  2. Hi Brooke – this is my first time visiting and I found you via Becoming Minimalist and literally saw your blog name and thought ‘What a great name’ Then the first post is about meal planning – yay! I’m a fanatical meal planner and I hope you don’t mind but I’m gonna drop a link in as it is relevant – I wrote The Simple Guide To Meal Planning.. Really looking forward to having a good look around the blog and will be subscribing!

    • Thanks, Jo! Glad to have you!

      I took a look at your guide to meal planning – lady, you’ve got it going on! From now on I defer to you as the queen of meal planning! I enjoyed looking over your weekly plans too and your Use It Up week. Might give that one a try next week.