I never thought I’d be one to menu plan… in my head I believed myself too much of an eclectic free spirit to bog myself down in such day to day household drudgery as that. In reality, I’m a disorganised, forgetful type that sucks at planning anything at all & has trouble deciding what's for dinner at the best of times, so, really, if anyone should have been meal planning from the get go, I realise now, that it should have been me.
For some reason I thought that meal planning would hinder spontaneity. I thought that I would be stuck with fish for dinner on a day I wanted eggplant. I thought that it was too much work… the whole, you know, planning part. I thought I’d be stuck in the kitchen preparing lavish meals from scratch… however, I had to do something, my well-worn “system” obviously wasn’t working. My usual strategy for shopping & meal preparation swung from doing a big shop (sans shopping list) choosing this & that & whatever else I fancy, getting home, looking at everything, like a lamer version of Ready, Steady, Cook! and realising there is nothing to eat, or, forgoing the big shop completely & running to the shop twenty minutes before dinner, too tired to bother with anything much, clock ticking, and ending up with something frozen & fast.
Unable to face another night of prepacked spinach & ricotta tortellini, I decided to give this meal planning bizzo a go. Other people did it. Ooohparently, other people even liked it.
But, instead of coming to you today from a place of many weeks or months experience in the field of meal planning, I am not yet out of my very first week. It’s taken me 28 years & 5 months to finally sit down, decide what we’re going to eat for a week, and write the corresponding shopping list… and it’s a m a z i n g.
I have been to the supermarket, since Wednesday, once, instead of 7 to 10 times. I have prepared 5 new meals from scratch. They have all been delicious (and healthy). I have not had the anxiety of peering into the fridge at 10 past 5 & wondering if an egg & a piece of rockmelon could somehow make a meal. It has been EASY. I highly recommend it.
There are all sorts of sites & resources for this underground world of meal planning – I considered a bunch of them before heading over to the Taste website & printing out some things I thought we might like. Taste is absolutely free & pretty damn awesome. Anything you could want to make is on there, and you can search for healthy budget options, picnic food for kids, easy dinner recipes… everything. The coolest thing is, you can print out your recipes & add the ingredients to your shopping list which you can also print out – all you need to do is consolidate the items (i.e. 250g or beans for one recipe & 250g of beans for another, equals… erm… 500g of beans all together. You learn something new everyday.), decide what is for breakfast & lunch & head off to the supermarket better prepared than you have ever been before.
I want you to believe me when I tell you that you will not look back. Even if you are the most disorganised, lazy, procrastinating type in the world (*cough*), you will love it. Every new meal I dish up is accompanied with an enthusiastic “How great is this meal planning thing…?!”.
I am more than happy for this to turn into a Meal Planning love fest. Tell me of your love for meal planning. Tell me how you make it even easier. Tell me why I didn’t do this earlier….?! (Okay, that last one is rhetorical) Tell me why you don’t want to do it & I’ll tell you why you should.
Pics are all things we’ve had for dinner this week, from Taste.