2017 · food

Living Simply & Well; Meal Planning.

Say no to unnecessary to chaos. 
Hello friends!
Living simply – it’s one of my big goals in life. (More on that in another post!)
There are many small changes I have made in our life to simplify the everyday. One of the big ones is meal planning and that is what today’s post is on.

For over a year now at the start of every month I sit down and meal plan the entire month.
I only plan out our dinners but I have found it incredibly helpful in reducing stress in our life & helping me stay more organised.
Now I’ve had people ask me “how could you possibly know what you feel like in 20 days time”?
Well, what I plan is not set in stone. I can easily swap things around if I like – the main point is to have all the ingredients ready & a dinner idea already decided for each day – that way there is no last minute running to the store on the day. I write out a detailed shopping list & do my groceries on my own when Trent is on days off.
Our lives are constantly so busy – reducing one thing I have to think about or decide on per day is so helpful. I look at the calendar each morning, pull the meat out of the freezer or do meal prep in the morning and I am organised.
When Trent is working I plan meals that have leftovers so he has a good & filling lunch for the following day, I often also make sure there is an extra serve left for LuLu. I occasionally will have leftovers for lunch too – but I am normally happy with a sandwich. If there are any extra leftovers (for example, from lasagne) that is frozen and we enjoy that on one of his days off for an easy dinner.
When Trent is on days off, our meals are a lot more relaxed & you can tell from the calendar that occasionally the meal suggestion is vague. An “easy dinner” could be left overs, toasted sandwiches, bbq, burgers or even take away – those nights really often depend on what we are doing & how we feel. I don’t mind being more relaxed on those days, but when Trent is on working – I 99.5% of the time stick exactly to the meal plan.
So how do I do it?
I bought a large white board calendar from a local cheap shop (it is ugly, I know – I am yet to find a big month sized one I love – but for now it does the job…) and this calendar hangs on my wall near my pantry & fridge.

Monthly meal plan

It serves multiple purposes, we also keep track of all our bills on it and we mark any important dates, appointments or things we need to remember. It is in a place where we both can see it easily & know what is happening.
As for how I get meal ideas – I just got by what we are enjoying, we have family favourites. I always try to do a roast normally the day before Trent goes back on shift. Every now & then I scroll through pinterest and search for new dinner inspiration and I also add in meals depending on the season. As the weather cools down I’ll start adding in meals like pumpkin soup & beef stroganoff & in the peak of Summer we often have more wraps & bbq meals.
Our meals may not seem “super healthy” but each meal is loaded with veggies (our lasagne always has carrot, zucchini, onion and whatever other vegetables I have on hand in it), our pizza dinners are home made pizza – I make the dough in the thermomix and then I add our toppings. We do enjoy “comfort” type of food – pasta etc but I always try to balance it out with a good serve of vegetables.

I don’t plan out snacks, but that is because we kind of know what we like. Trent has his preferred snacks for work and I often try to bake something with LuLu during the week & we all enjoy that as our morning tea. LuLu always – every single morning, has a “fruit cup” (berries & grapes in a bowl) and she also sometimes has sultanas & apricots, she also loves yoghurt and in the afternoon as a treat she sometimes has a vanilla ice cream cup from home ice cream.
So that is how I meal plan, my next step in staying even more organised with meals is to write down all our favourite meals & their recipes in a note book so I always have them on hand. I have a terrible habit of taking a screen shot of recipes and then when I am cooking I am constantly referring to my iPhone & having to unlock it.
Do you meal plan? How do you do it? Monthly or weekly? What is your families go to favourite recipe?
I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment below or on my social media.

Snap Chat; Bindy_30
Keep it simple.

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