Tips to help get the food section of your life under control.
Preparing and cooking meals can be one of the week’s most stressful tasks. It also is the most consistent. Whether you have children or work long hours, meal prepping is an effective way to get you and your family organised. Thereby, decreasing the stress put on you around meal time. Here are some tips to help get the food section of your life under control.
- Work out a budget: There is no point starting to prep if you don’t know how much money you have to spend. Allocate a certain percentage of your income to meals. Don’t forget to include takeaway costs in the plan. Budget does not allow takeaway? Start a theme night using recipes from your favourite restaurant whether it be Mexican, Italian or Chinese. Dependent on whether you get paid, weekly, fortnightly or monthly make sure the meal planning last the same length of time so you don’t have to reorganise the budget until you get paid again.
- Decide on a plan: Once you know your length of time, write down how many meals you will need to account for. Will you be cooking three meals a day? Are you trying to lose weight? Will you meal prep on the weekend for the week? Determine your goals and plan accordingly. Start with one week and write down what meals you will cook depending on those days. Stick with your tried and true recipes first. (If you are changing your diet, research healthy options of meals you normally eat) You are almost ready to go!
- Make a list: Do not, repeat do not turn up to the super market without a list. You will end up buying food you don’t need. Now you have your meal, make a list of all the ingredients you will need to prepare them. Include all food and drink you will need for the week, especially snacks. Now decide where you will go to get your food. This is a time to change a pattern, so if you head to Woolies every week but daydream about going to the farmer’s market on Saturday now is your time to start. Separate the list if you are going to multiple places, there is no shame in doing this if a) you have the time and b) it drops the costs of your food shop.
- Start shopping: Number one tip: Don’t go while you are hungry. You will end up making impulse decisions. Eat something and then go. Don’t forget to include family members to make the task easier. Give the kids small lists, send your partner to get meat at the butcher or even better do it by yourself at 8:30 at night when you won’t be disturbed.
- Track your progress: Use your planner to track every aspect of your meal prep. The meals that worked, rejigging the budget, new recipes your family loved, discounts and specials from your favourite shop. Continue to reassess what does and doesn’t work for you.
Meal planning is one of the easiest ways to organise your house and your family. Everybody loves a good feed and your bank balance will love you for it. Now to just find someone to do the dishes…