I’m currently loving our meal planning system. So, I thought I would share it with you. Since I started living on my own I have always enjoyed planning the weekly meals. I really don’t know why. Looking back, even when I shared a flat at Uni we planned for the week ahead. Crazy, right?
I know that not everyone loves cooking. And not everyone has a good relationship with food. This is not a weight loss meal plan. I’m not a nutritionist. I think that overall what we eat in a week is quite balanced and healthy. But “healthy” comes in many flavours (What’s best, vegan? keto? paleo? I have no idea). It isn’t either a plan to follow to a tee. I think what’s interesting is how it came up to life.
Why I like this plan?
- Lunch and dinners for almost three months.
- It’s seasonal: I plan the meals for four weeks. I repeat this meal plan three times and then I create a new one for the upcoming season. This allows us to rely in seasonal produce.
- It allows you to keep your budget down: Lots of veggies, lots of seasonal veggies. This really reduces your budget. As you get an overview of the non-perishables you will be eating in the next couple of months, you can stock up when they are in offer.
- Prep with weeks in advance: You can cook bigger batches and freeze for the next rotation.
- No wasted food: You will see that in my plan I include lots of “stir fry”, “baked veggies”, “veggie curry rice” and “frittatas”. I love cooking any of these. They are quick and easy, healthy dinner options. And they allow you to empty your fridge, use up any leftover veggie.
- Although you rely on some staple recipes, you can try new ones: We try to add new recipes in the plan. For example, this autumn, we learned to cook the minty pea soup and to use tahini for marinating veggies. But for the most part, and above all for week nights, we rely on bullet proof recipes.
- There is a balance. We don’t have pasta or rice every day.
- We reduced our meat, eggs and fish intake to almost once a week (We are trying to reduce our carbon footprint).
For it to work for you, you will need to consider the following things:
What do you like to eat? It’s easy to adapt the plan to your taste. If you don’t like curry, swap it for another rice based recipe. If you want to eat meat every day you can add it. Would you be interested in seeing every recipe on the plan?
How much time do you have for cooking? How can you better organize it? This is a personal preference. It really depends on your schedule. I see that many meal plans reserve Sundays as meal prep day. This really doesn’t work for me. Sundays are our day as a family and I don’t really want to spend it slaving in the kitchen. I would say that I prep every two days and cook at least a meal every day.
What do you (or your partner) can cook? Are you willing to try new recipes? If cooking is overwhelming or new to you, I would suggest sticking to salads, easy pastas and stir fry. They can be done in so many ways that you won’t get bored.
Do you like to eat leftovers? Or eat the same dish two consecutive days? We might have Pasta Bolognese for dinner and the leftovers for lunch. However, we won’t have Pasta Bolognese until the next month. This makes it non-repetitive.
How does your work week look like? Do you eat at work? Do you have a microwave on hand? In our case, my partner usually eats on site. Without a microwave, the best option for us is to plan lots of salads and sandwiches.
How many people are you cooking for? Who are you cooking for? Cooking for oneself or two adults it’s easier than cooking for a group of toddlers. In general, our son is offered the same food we eat. If he doesn’t eat it, we offer him alternatives or tell him to wait for dessert (a piece of fruit, a cookie, etc).
Do you have any dietary restrictions? In our home we have some allergies (gluten, cow milk). We avoid many ingredients, we don’t eat out very often. Having a layout of meals really helps us not to get frustrated on what we can’t eat.
Do you have a budget? We currently don’t have a budget. However, having this plan allows to track our expenses.
I hope this post helped some of you. Figuring out what to eat every day can be frustrating.
I will be changing my meal plan for winter. Would you like to see it?
Bes of luck!