15 Tips for Better Meal Planning
- Invest in a slow cooker. You will thank me later! Meals cook slowly over 8 hours while you are at work all day and you come home to a wonderful aroma of home cooked food. What could be better?
- Plan for leftovers. Instead of cooking for two each evening double your ingredients and pack the leftovers for lunch the next day. Make a little extra of everything and if you don’t fancy it there and then, freeze it.
- Make soup. It's nutritious, quick and easy. If you are really caught for time buy ready chopped vegetables. Just watch which stock cube you use as many contain mono-sodium-glutamate (MSG) and should be avoided. Choose a reduced salt bouillon powder instead
- Make a stir-fry. You could use ready chopped boxes of vegetables if necessary and add some cooked prawns but make sure you swap sachets of stir fry sauce (which are laced with sugar) for soy sauce, chilli flakes, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger and coriander. And of course plan for leftovers.
- Spend an hour on a Sunday batch cooking a stew or curry. Freeze it in portions or refrigerate it and take it for lunch over the next three days. This won't take all day especially if you have already done tip number 14
- Oven roast some chicken with vegetables and your lunch will be the envy of everyone in the office over the next three days. Try out my recipe here
- Hard boil six eggs and keep them in the door of your fridge for up to three days. Simply use them in salads, or slice them on-top of some avocado on wholemeal toast for a light evening meal or healthy breakfast
- Microwave a sweet potato in five minutes and fill with hummus and salad
- Make a vegetable omelette and serve it with a large handful of rocket leaves
- Assemble. Get some oatcakes, smoked mackerel, some cherry tomatoes and rocket/spinach leaves. Assemble a quick and delicious meal on your plate in minutes.
- Share the cooking. Ask your kids to help in the kitchen if they can. The more good habits they learn from you now the better their chances of maintaining healthy habits in the future
- Rotate a few of your favourite recipes weekly and introduce one new recipe a fortnight to keep things interesting (new recipes will take longer to cook)
- Planning is Key! Plan in advance what you are going to eat during the week ahead. Look at your recipes and make a shopping list. It will help you stay on track so you are less likely to impulsively buy unhealthy treats. Choose recipes that you can get a few portions from such as a stew, soup or shepherd's pie.
- Schedule an online shop. It will save your previous shopping list so it becomes faster each time you do it. Some online grocery shops allow you to upload a recipe and populate your basket with the ingredients
- Save money. You will save yourself money and reduce your food waste
Seriously, it will soon become second nature to you. Try it and see for yourself!
Do you cook from scratch or are you stuck in a depressing cycle of work and convenience foods? I’d love to hear your thoughts below! What are your fail-safe kitchen hacks?
P.S. Check out my Instagram @Stellar_Health_Mary and like my Facebook page for daily lunchbox inspiration.