Happy New Year everyone! I am guessing that there are many people out there with a new year’s resolution that is based around food? Or are you doing the whole veganuary thing this year? Or maybe it is dry January for some? For me it is all about meal planning.
I am a bit of a ‘rummage in the fridge and make it up as you go along’ kind of cook. I work from home and have a market and food shops pretty close so life is easier for me than most. I can get away with not planning. Decide to do something and I need eggs then within 5 minutes I can pop out and get some.
Despite this, I know that there are some advantages in having a bit of plan. As a nutritionist, my mantra is variety. Eat different foods, cook foods in different ways, mix it up. The standing staring into the fridge every evening option makes it so easy to get stuck in the same old rut, using the same old ingredients and cooking the same thing far too often. I sit here guilty as charged!
Having been bought a few cook books for Christmas, I have been dipping in to them and that has sparked me to make a little scribbled meal plan on a scrap of paper. New dishes to try with ingredients that may have slipped off the shopping list for a while. So, making a little time to scribble ideas down on a scrap of paper can send you rummaging in those cook books that have been gathering dust on the shelf or finding a new gem on the internet. That little bit of time to plan can plug a little energy back into that challenge of deciding what to eat.
But having a plan has many more benefits. It means a tighter shopping list, you can save money and reduce waste. It is easier to see the leftover possibilities, the fact that you are buying fresh ingredients that you won’t use up in one meal can be inspiration for another meal later in the week.
Considering the week and the busy evenings then you can plan a batch cook meal to provide another meal on another night – a ready meal fait à maison.
This is my Mexican Style Shepherd’s Pie made from my Batch Veggie Chilli recipe. Click here for the recipes. For those who are doing the Veganuary thing this year – both these recipes can be vegan.
It also lets you consider those fussy eaters in your house and give an easier meal one evening to make up for a more challenging one another night. It allows you to think about including one challenging veg but balancing it with one that you know will be accepted. It allows a bit of a conversation about food with your nearest and dearest. Think how maybe you could get them involved with the choosing and the cooking, which may help a little with the eating.
A meal plan doesn’t have to be the beautifully drawn chalk board on the kitchen wall or some fancy spreadsheet on your computer or some swanky app on your phone. It can just be a scribbled set of ideas on the back of an envelope. The plan doesn’t have to be etched in stone to the last green bean. It can be really flexible.
Here is a week of evening meal suggestions that you can stick on your fridge.