Why we’re fans of a meal plan
Do you often find yourself scrambling for meal ideas come midweek? Throwing out veggies that’ve been forgotten in the fridge? Accidentally buying ingredients you already have, or worse, having to make a last-minute dash to the shops to get ones you forgot?
We’ve partnered with the team at Love Food Hate Waste to introduce you to a concept that might just change your life (or at least just make it easier): Meal Planning.
Meal planning isn’t a new idea, but it’s one of those simple life changes that has such a big impact you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it forever. With just an hour or so of planning on a Sunday (or whichever day you do the shop) you’ll save yourself a bunch of “what’s for dinner?” stress throughout the week. Plus, by planning ahead you can also cut down on both food waste and cost. Sound good? Here’s how to get started.
Do a kitchen audit
Before you head out for your shop have a good look through your pantry, fridge and freezer. Note down any staples – like pasta, flour and rice – that might need a top-up, and also any perishables that need to be used up in the next few days. Have some broccoli that’s looking a bit worse for wear? Broccoli and Potato Soup or a Broccoli Pasta could be a good early-week option. Or maybe you have some leftover Spag Bol mince in the freezer? This could be repurposed for tacos or nachos.
Find your recipe rotation
It can be overwhelming trying to think of new ideas when you’re on the spot, so having a list of faves to refer to makes it easier. Ask the family what they might like (even better if they’ll cook it!) or ask friends what’s on heavy rotation in their house. Also remember to bookmark recipes online (we’ve got heaps of great ones here, or keep a list of recipes in the kitchen, including household favourites, recipes you’ve tried in the past and liked, or new ideas that you like the sound of. Once you’ve got your recipes for the week, jot them down in this easy-to-follow meal planning template.
Love your list
The Love Food Hate Waste team are big fans of a shopping list – and so are we! Not only do they save time and money, but there’s something so satisfying about ticking each item off! To keep track of what you need for your meal plan, keep a chalkboard, magnet planner or even good old-fashioned pen and paper right there in the kitchen, so you can jot items down while they’re fresh-in-mind. Try using our handy template if you’re a pen and paper person.
Want to be able to make and add to lists on-the-go? Download the myCountdown app. Not only does it let you share your list with other members of your household, it also cleverly organises it by aisle – just select your local store in settings.
Put some extra pep in your prep
If you’re super organised, you could include some meal prep for the week ahead as well. Chopping up veggies in advance is a good way to save some time during the week, or you can even pre-cook things like curries, soups or mince dishes and re-heat them when you need them.