No matter what you do, planning ahead will save you time. This is especially true when it comes to grocery shopping and cooking for your family. Planning ahead means that you don't have to waste time trying to think of what you will cook tonight. It also avoids the annoying situation where you decide to cook something but then realise that you're missing an important ingredient and have to make a last minute dash to the grocery store. I've done that before.
Planning your family meals a week or two ahead of time will also reduce waste - think of all those veggies that have gone moldy. It also helps when a meal needs additional preparation for example you need to take something out of the freezer or marinate some meat.
If you think that advance meal planning might work for you and your family, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Pull together a selection of trusted recipes – Whether they are from your personal collection, from a book or from the Internet, pull together all of the recipes that you are sure your family will eat and enjoy. Including fast and easy recipes such as spaghetti with frozen meatballs, tacos, pasta bakes or pan-fried fish with frozen vegetables into your regular meal rotation will aid in timesavings.
- Organize a pattern to your meal plans – You don’t have to eat the same food every Sunday or Monday, but if you set a basic pattern to your meal schedule, you’ll find it even easier to stick with the plan. For instance, if you cook a roast on Sunday, Monday’s meal will include the roast leftovers in fajitas. Fridays may always be pizza, but you can switch the ingredients every week. Thursday may be ground beef night or vegetarian night. Set the pattern in way that works for you
If doing all of this on your own seems overwhelming, there are some great online sites that can assist in creating meal schedules for you, including detailed shopping lists and with the ability to alter ingredients to include more of your family’s favorite foods. Try MealsMatter.org
With a little preplanning, you and your family will have extra time to enjoy together.
How do you plan your meals for the week?