I’m often asked how I manage to be “so organised” and get everything done, especially since we are gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free. Once I’ve finished laughing and picked myself up off of the floor (I feel like the most disorganised human being on the planet!!), I let them in on my little secret. Meal Planning. Yep, it’s as simple as that! By being organised in just this one aspect of my life, it gives me so much spare time (and energy and patience) everywhere else to scramble to get the rest of it done. Mostly.
Meal-planning was by far the best change I ever made to my weekly schedule. I sit down every Wednesday night and plan our meals for the next week. I then write out my shopping list and do the groceries on Thursday morning, straight after dropping the kids at school. This way I am at the shops when it is quiet so I can quickly zip through without getting caught up in crowds and long lines at the checkout. I’m usually finished by 10am, so parking isn’t an issue either. The best part is that it means I only have to go shopping once each week. And there are so many reasons why I love my meal plans:
Only shopping once per week drastically cuts down on impulse buying, so you save money. Even if you shop online and have to pay for delivery, you are still going to spend less than if you go into the shops and throw all those extra things into the trolley that were not on your list. I also find that we have much less food wastage because I’m not buying vegetables and then finding that I don’t use them, because I only buy what I specifically need for the meals I have planned.
You save time!
Every time you go to the shops, you have to drive around to find a car park, then walk from your car to the shops (this is an effort in itself if you have a couple of small kids in tow). Then if it’s in the afternoon, evening or on the weekend, you waste a lot of time standing in queues waiting to be served. Multiply this by 3-4 times per week, and you can easily save yourself a good couple of hours.
You save on stress!
I don’t know about you, but driving laps in a crowded car park fighting for an empty space, then dealing with crowded checkouts is not my idea of a relaxing time. I’d much rather be at home having a bit more time to help the kids with their homework (yeah okay, that’s not relaxing either, but you know what I mean).
I know what to cook each night
This is a huge and yet vastly underrated benefit. Life is so much easier when you know what is for dinner. Instead of wasting half an hour trying to think of something that everyone likes AND that you have all the ingredients for, the decision is already made. You can just get stuck in and get it done. By planning a week at a time, you can involve the rest of the family too. I have everyone suggest one meal that they would like for the week, so that way they know that somewhere along the line they are going to get what they want. This also makes it easier on me because I don’t have to come up with 7 different dinners every week.
I have everything on hand that I need for dinner
This is the best part. There is nothing worse than umming and ahhhing for half an hour over what to cook, only to find that you don’t have half the ingredients that you need and then having to come up with something else and going through the process all over again. By planning your meals in advance, you can take meat out of the freezer the night before so it is defrosted and ready to go because you know what you will be cooking the next day. You’ll have all the veggies and condiments you need because you went shopping the other day with the ingredients for tonight’s dinner already on the shopping list.
So what do you think?
Are you ready to give meal planning a whirl? Or, if you’re after a done for you solution, check out my Fuss-free Gluten-free Meal Planning service where all the thought, stress and worry of what to cook for dinner is taken care of for you, so you can have your evenings back to kick back, relax, and enjoy a delicious gluten-free dinner that the whole family will love.