Meal planning for the win

Do some meal planning so that when the ‘What’s for dinner?’ chant is rolled you will be able to answer with something more specific than ‘Food’!

The thing about kids is that they want dinner. Every. Single. Day. And if you are the main dinner supplier, this requires a not insignificant amount of forethought and preparation to achieve.

Meat and veg

The traditional ‘meat and veg’ (or protein and 3 veg) is a useful description of what makes up a balanced meal. Some protein, carohydrates, plus vegetables of varying colours, combine to make a filling and healthy meal.

Luckily there are many, many, ways to put these components of a balanced meal together, so we no longer have to endure a regular meal of chops grilled to an inch of their life, boiled cabbage, boiled potato and boiled carrots.

Planning is winning

Planning your evening meals in advance has a range of benefits:

  • more healthy – because you have planned it out , you can make sure at least most of the weeks meals are balanced
  • spend less – if you have a list of the exact items you need to get from the supermarket, you are less likely to make impulse buys
  • less waste – because you know exactly what you need, you won’t be buying things that will spoil in the bottom of the fridge or get freezer burn and have to be thrown away
  • less clutter – with a bit of planning you will know what you don’t need that extra packet of pasta (because you checked, and there were actually already 2 in the pantry)
  • save time and energy – although you do have to spend some time planning, you will save time in the long run, and also hopefully eliminate the need for a quick dash into the supermarket on the way home from work of after school activities
  • leftovers – if you are lucky, there will be leftovers that may be just perfect for the kids lunchboxes

Choosing the meals

There are a number of criteria that you might like to consider when choosing the meals for the week;

  • Choose meals your family actually like – if your kids really don’t like curry, save it for date night. When your children are old enough, ask them to choose a meal for one night (maybe give them a choice of 2 or 3 to choose from)
  • If you are time poor, choose a meal that is quick and easy and cooked in one dish:
  • Get what’s in season – in the middle of winter, courgette pie might turn out to be a very expensive option but in late summer courgettes are cheap

Doing the plan

Download this Meal Planner and map out the week, noting what you will need to get from the supermarket in the column on the right.

Repeating the planner on a weekly or fortnightly routine will further reduce the time you spend planning and shopping.

author robynWritten by Robyn Cody

Robyn creates content on Kidspot NZ. Her hobbies include buying cleaning products and wondering why things don’t then clean themselves, eating cheese scones with her friends, and taking her kids to appointments. 

Favourite motto to live by: “This too will pass.”

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