Meal Planning and Recipe Creating
When it comes to meal planning, it is vital to think ahead- rather than randomly choosing a meal for each night of the week.
It may take up some more time, but you'll be thanking your past self that there's a wholesome meal waiting for your meal time hits!
Those of you with a budget or who already meal plan will understand why I say this.
For those of you who don’t - one word:
They are your best friend for so many reasons! Saving money, saving time and preventing food waste!
Here is a perfect example of how you can make use of leftovers for future meals:
On Sundays you may decide to have a roast because you have more time to cook during the day.
Cook extra vegetables and use those vegetables as a base for your next meal.
Leftover vegetables can be used in so many dishes -
- In salads
- As toppings for baked potatoes
- Mashed into patties
Leftover meat is perfect for next day lunches -
- Used in cold salads
- Used in a wrap
- Chopped up for a stir-fry
Along with using leftovers for future meals, another thing you'll need to think about is your shopping list.
There's no point buying 2 kilos of chicken if you are going to eat it on Monday and Friday and by the time Friday comes the chicken is off.
So along with meal planning, you can ALSO save money, time and food wastage by writing out shopping lists.
This is why online shopping is great, you know what you’re cooking and when so that you can only buy what you need OR freeze it to use later in the week.
So start with the meal that you know you would have the time to cook, or always enjoy weekly and go from there- it could be a Saturday or Sunday dish as you may have more time on the weekends.
When it comes to recipe creating, I look no further than brainstorming for inspiration.
If you are struggling for meal ideas or inspiration, I find that it works amazing to flick through some recipe books.
And if you have children- please involve them in this!
I know that at times it feels like it is so much easier to just have some peace and quiet to do this, but by involving your children, you are teaching them to make healthy decisions and teaching them life lessons.
My go to tip for brainstorming recipe ideas is to:
Start with your protein of choice.
Whether it be - Legumes, Lentils, Chicken, Fish, Lamb, Beef
Maybe you feel like chicken for lunch this week.
If it's hot, rather than having hot meals, try salads.
There is a massive list of ingredients you can add in your salads- rice, quinoa, boiled eggs, almonds, figs, blueberries, it never ends.
Brain storming is great and it's how I create a lot my recipes (maybe I'll do a follow up blog about this! LOL).
If it's cold, why not try slow cooked, roast or steamed chicken?
You can pair it with vegetables, warm quinoa salads and homemade sauces.
Or what if you're in the mood for fish this week?
A curry is a flavourful, filling option that can be delicious with seasonings and herbs.
Home made chips with fish- so many options!
From there decide on whether you want a hot or cold dish.
And following on from that, you should ask yourself; 'What goes well with what you’re eating?'
You can combine lentils into your curry, pair your chicken with quinoa or have beef with a side of beetroot (a personal favourite of mine)!
Think flavours and make it up from there! You can't go wrong!
Well, you can, but how else do you figure out what works unless you try?
Imagine the first person who invented a pavlova? :/ How many mistakes do you think that would have taken to get it to actually peak and taste nice?
Another great way to ensure you're preparing a clean, wholesome meal for yourself and/or your kids is to be on the constant lookout for substitutes.
I have been cooking for a long time now thanks to my mum and our upbringing, I know so many substitutes and variants to ingredients off the top of my head.
If you practice, research and use trial and error, you'll remember endless, healthy substitutes off the top of your head like me,
Here is a great example:
If a recipe calls for condensed milk- alternatively use coconut milk.
If a recipe requires you need to add sweetener, use maple syrup.
I love making up recipes as I go and majority of the time I don’t use or follow a recipe, but rather combine flavours I love together to create a dish.
My husband always says to me “I think you have out done yourself this time bub” and when he asks me to recreate it, I cant! Lol (yes, he says it very similar to the guy from the castle!)
So, in a nutshell, my top tips for meal planning are:
-Write shopping lists.
-Do online shopping.
-Think of school lunches (for those with kids)
I hope this helps some of you with organising your families meals for the week, whilst saving time and money in the mean time!
If you'd like a simple framework to help with meal planning and creating your shoppings list, why not use my Meal Prep Calendar to get you started?
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