December 02, 2012


So, meal panning. 
Boring right? Um, maybe... just a little...
Essential for saving time, money, your sanity & your belly? You betcha!
I always meal plan, it's how I keep a check on not dishing up the same old meals week in, week out. It's also how I make sure I have every ingredient for when I'm trying out a new recipe, or new version of an old one. This past week I made a veggie cottage pie & needed some ras el hanout (eh? what's that?) & there was no way on earth that i would have remembered that funky little name if hadn't noted it down. It still took for forever to find it mind...
Anyway, I'm digressing (me? never...). The bottom line is I meal plan, and this is how i do it...

(Before I begin, I'd like to dedicate this post to my friend Kelly. This is the girl who scoffed at my meal planning ventures with my fancy-pant print outs & my special colour co-ordinated pens. I found this a little strange as she knows I'm a stationary geek (i heart pens & paper so much that aged 15 I did her entire Home Economics project for her) and she also knows how I like a certain air of organisation (I would regularly tidy HER room as a teenager. Well, she was too busy applying clean & clear to her chin to notice the 5ft piles of random crap building up around her...). 
So Kelly, this post is, like, SO for you and it is totes amaze. Dang!)

Here we go!
First up: get your template. You can scribble your own if you can be bothered, but i always use this one because I'm lazy. There are literally loads out there if you google them. I also keep a notebook handy to scribble ideas down too. 
Look, I've labelled up a picture there of stage one for you. I'm nice like that. I mean, did you know what a pen was before I labelled it up?
Next: get inspired! One of the benefits of meal planning is that you rarely find yourself in a food rut which means everyone gets to try new things regularly. If you're more organised than me, you'd keep previous meal planners so you get even more variation.
I grab the recipe books I'm loving that week & i find the Internet recipes I've bookmarked. Then i mix it up with a few staples too, like our (pretty much) weekly Taco night! Mmmmm, tacos.....
Then I sort my categories. Because the older kiddos are at school for 5 out of 7 lunch times, and India  & I generally have a sandwich or left overs at lunch, I plan our evening meals & weekend meals only. For example my categories are:

Kids dinners: mon, tue, wed, thur, fri
Adults dinners: mon, tue, wed, thur, fri 
Saturday lunch & dinner
Sunday lunch & dinner

Three nights out of the week the kiddos eat separate to us so I plan theirs first, then ours. Then I plan the nights and weekends where we all eat together. I make notes on top of the planner such as which books the recipes are in (with page numbers) or what website i found it on.
Remember to schedule things like parties / play dates / meals out etc too and don't forget to include all the other essentials such as fruit bowl items/kids snacks/any cleaning products you're running low on etc etc...

Once you're all planned up, write out the list you want to take shopping with you. You don't have to do this obviously, but I do because I know the layout of the supermarkets I use most often & I can plan the list that way too so I don't spend forever in there! I need to not spend my whole afternoon in a supermarket...

So, that's it! My quick-fire meal planning is in the bag.

Enjoy! x


  1. all I've got to say to this is OMG

  2. Actually, on second thoughts, I've got lots to say. 1) this is amazing 2) how long does it take you 3) do you always follow the plan?
    I'm in a real cooking rut, I can't be bothered and don't even get me started on shopping i really HATE it, and whenever we do an online shop I seem to look in the fridge and it's still empty. Anyway, I've feel wel jel of you and your family who get to reap the benefits of the meal plan!

    1. Thanks love! I just replied down there ...

      Google went a bit bonkers....!

  3. It's SO easy! It takes me about 1hr on a Sunday night - and it's actually fun to do! Just start with the evening meals - that's only 7 meals! Fill 3 of them with familiar stuff you all like, then you're down to 4! Get your cook books out (works better when you're hungry - TRUE!) and get searching. My top tip is read deep into the recipe as some things sound so pretentious but when you break them down, they're so easy. Since I started this about a year ago, my oldest two have been 100% amazing at trying new things. They give anything a shot now, and i swear it's down to mixing up the weekly rotation!

    I'm a food geek, so i love doing it!


  4. This is so good. I love a list me. And this is a FOOD list. I'm all over it, thanks for the heads up! x