Around 10 years ago whilst working in pharmacy, a work friend introduced me to meal planning. Every Friday she would come to work with a handful of recipe books and food magazines. She would sit with her books, a notebook and pen on her meal breaks and write out the menu for the following week, along with a shopping list for anything ingredients she might need. I found this weekly event quite interesting and inspiring and I attempted myself to do the same, but I only did it on and off and for a couple of weeks at a time. At the time I thought she was very organised, a dedicated cook and someone that liked to try new things all the time. I didn't think much more of it than that. But now I see the bigger picture...now I understand just how much this simple tool can change your life!
I have started meal planning again and these are my thoughts on it now:
- I can see it will save us money
- I can see it will save food from being wasted
- I can see it will assist in using ingredients that we already have in the freezer or pantry
- I can see it will inspire us to try new foods
- I can see it will encourage me to 'stretch' ingredients and be resourceful with leftovers
- I can see it will save me time
- I can see it will stop the "What on earth am I making for tea tonight" experience that overwhelms me every now and then
- I can see it will encourage more involvement from our family as to what we are eating and what we can make together as a family
- I can see it will encourage me to use ALL of my cookbooks
- I can see it forming a major part of my 'job' as a homemaker to plan and be organised
What I can't see is that I will stop this time. I am excited about meal planning...is that a little weird? I love having my little 'weekly menu' up for our family to see with references to cook books and pages so I know where to find the recipe for each day. I love knowing that I can balance our meals out for the week in advance and I love the feeling of being in control and organising this important part of our lives.
Tuesday's meal of homemade ricotta gnocchi with a tomato, mushroom and baby spinach sauce
Do you meal plan? How has it worked for you?