Something we found essential after becoming a family of 4 was to get organised with our weekly food shop. After Parker was born I spent some time reading up on meal planning and the numerous benefits, from saving time to keeping costs down. Though I try hard to be I’m not a naturally organised person, but it’s amazing how much easier mealtimes are now that we’ve become more organised.
In addition to meal planning we’ve found it’s a lot less work when you can do meal prep all at once (usually accompanied by a radio programme and a glass of something… I know, it’s all very Rock ‘n’ Roll!) The odd meals we’ll make in bulk so that we can store some extra portions in the fridge or freezer. I’m a big fan of Joe Wicks and his tips on this are really useful.
Below are some of the things that help us with our weekly meal planning!
1. Finding inspiration
One of the most time consuming parts to meal planning is finding inspiration on what meals to make. To help us with inspiration we have a file dedicated to our favourite recipes. It’s organised by Chicken, Beef, Veggie, One Pot Wonders etc. It has pretty much all of our go-to recipes inside from various cookbooks, blogs, plus the odd Hello Fresh recipe card that we’ve saved. If I have the energy to whip up something more adventurous I’ll occasionally use Pinterest boards, which are another handy way to organise new meals you’d like to try!
2. Get the kids involved
I’ve always believed it’s important to involve the kids when it comes to family meals. I want our boys to be interested in the food choices we make and to get them helping out in the kitchen, even if it’s only with small tasks here and there for now. We’re lucky and don’t have particularly picky eaters, in fact the boys mostly have the same meals as us. When meal planning we ask Finlay what he’d like to add to the shopping list (he usually requests Babybel cheese and Weetabix) that way he feels included and recognises that he can have a choice in what he eats.
3. Display your weekly meals where you can see them
Once we’ve finally decided what we’re cooking for the week ahead I’ll write a weekly ‘menu’ on the blackboard, which we have hanging up on a wall in the kitchen. It’s easy to forget what meals you planned ahead (especially lunches) so by making them a décor feature it helps remind us what we’re having. I also love magnetic whiteboards, as they can easily be wiped clean and you can also attach notes to them like recipe cut outs or photos!
4. Organised shopping lists
If you’re doing your weekly shop at the store then I always make sure I prepare an organised shopping list at home first, which is categorised by section. It takes no time at all to write out yet saves you walking back and forth through the same aisles. I tend to use the categories Fruit & Veg, Meats, Dairy, Cupboard Stock and Cleaning Supplies. It may sound OTT but it makes all the difference, especially if you have the kids in tow!
5. Choose a day to weekly meal plan and shop
We tend to write up our meal plans on a Sunday, as it means we can either do a grocery shop later that day or simply order online. I find ordering online has been life saver for us lately, as it helps make sure you make healthy choices (i.e you’re less likely to reach for that pack of digestives) and also keeps your weekly shops on budget! I have a few shopping lists saved so that I can easily re-order certain combos for future shops.
I hope you found this useful! Let me know if you have any meal planning tips, I’m always interested in hearing how other families manage mealtimes!
*This was a collaborative post.