This is an article I wrote on meal planning last year for Babyccino Kids before I started this blog. I’ve often thought that I should have this info on my own blog and finally asked the girls if I could repost it! I’ve made a few edits, but it is mostly the same content as it originally appeared.
I try to make meal planning as easy as possible. For me, this means using my smart phone to help me plan and organise. There are three apps I use to help me prepare our nightly meals: Pinterest, iPhone “notes”, and my grocery app. I use Pinterest to inspire me to try new recipes (though flipping through favourite cookbooks also works!), my iPhone “notes” to make a list of dinners for the week (with links to online recipes), and my grocery app to make sure I have all the groceries I need for the week in advance.
When I browse Pinterest during the week I keep an eye out for easy, weeknight meals. Pictures can be deceiving, so I always read the recipe to make sure there isn’t anything too involved. If I find something that looks yummy, relatively healthy, and easy to make (or easy to adapt), I’ll pin it to my “Vegetarian/Pescatarian Dinners“, “Meaty Meals“, or “Crockpot Adventures” boards. I also follow some fun and inspirational Instagram accounts. These also serve as great inspiration to help me add new recipes into the mix.
Once a week, usually on Saturday, my daughter (Charlotte) and I sit down to meal plan together. We start by looking at the calendar. What does our week look like? Are there any nights where we won’t be in for dinner? Will we have guests? Any nights where we need a really quick meal? From there I go to my “notes” app where I have an ongoing list of our weeknight meals. (I started this a few years ago and now have a big list to browse if I’m stuck for ideas!) Depending on what our week looks like, I choose a few meals to cook from scratch and a few quick meals. Charlotte likes to help me choose meals which is helpful to make her feel a part of the process. She is less likely to complain at mealtimes this way! I try to choose things she can help with, and any given week could look like this (see my “weekly meal plans” for more examples):
Tuesday’s pre-made falafel and Friday’s pizza are the quick meals for the week. They can be prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes. The other three meals are also prepped in under 20 minutes or so, but take additional time to cook.
On a side note, we aren’t vegetarians, but we eat primarily vegetarian meals during the week. Vegetarian meals often cost less and take less time to cook which is helpful. I also like that my kids can help with the meal prep more with vegetarian meals (mashing potatoes, adding ingredients, stirring, etc.) where I would worry about helping as much when raw meat is involved.
Once I have a plan for the week, I order everything from my grocery app. (We don’t have a car, so ordering online is much easier for us!) This way I have no excuses when dinnertime rolls around on Monday.
There you have it! This is what works for me and my family, but I would love to hear what works for you! Please share!!
PS: These pics are from our old flat with its tiny (but super cute!) kitchen!