“What’s to eat today?”
I really wish I could insert the sinister pyscho-thriller background sound here, at this point which rings in every mommy’s ears as soon as that innocent sentence is uttered.
But jokes apart. The struggle to decide what to eat together as a family, each and every day could take a genuine toll on just about anyone shouldering the responsibility.
Not to forget the process gets even trickier when trying to tick off boxes such as deliciousness, nutrition, fulfillment, catering to fussy family eaters, hectic schedules, cooking ease, and most importantly budget considerations.
Though there is no need to get all nervous and discouraged at the mentioned projections. For already in plain view exists the solution named “Weekly Family Meal Plan.”
The Importance of Meal Planning
Contrary to what the heart wants, we cannot all be Jamie Oliver, Paula Deen, or Nigella Lawson. That is looking absolutely flawless, quick on the hands, and knowing exactly what to cook with ingredients in front.
Which is why as opposed to the celebrity chefs, for less expert people like us, the term “weekly meal plan” could be the road to the land of holy salvation.
How you ask? Well to start with, it gives you the platform to get the upper hand on the whole “what to eat game” by –
1. Saving You Time And Stress
Planning in advance saves you time. Instead of leaving everything on the moment and then end up crying over the sink for lack of ingredients, cooking mishaps, or last-minute inspirations, it is indefinitely wise to plan up ahead.
Furthermore, doesn’t it only take like 30-50 minutes to come up with a meal plan for the entire week?
Think like Sunday’s for chicken, Monday’s for Pasta and so on. See?
It doesn’t have to be very specific. Rather just outlining the ideas down so as to rescue yourself from time-consuming procrastination per day.
With a plan in mind, you can also stock up the groceries and ingredients for the entire week, with just one visit to the convenient store, thereby saving you more time.
Also knowing what to buy goes on to reduce shopping time. For with a list in hand, there is no need to blankly look up eons of product shelves and aisles or ask the already frustrated store staffs for meal suggestions.
2. Helping To Healthily Downsize The Budget
As someone being an ex-religious customer of Chinese take-outs and pizzas of any form be it frozen or delivered, I can vouch how much money a well thought out meal plans can save on the long run.
I mean you would be amazed at the difference you find between the take-outs or restaurant bills against grocery store cash receipts when you add them up to the end of the week or months.
That too not only in terms of the money alone but also the quality, fulfillment, and quantity of food involved.
3. Adding Nutritional value To Your Meals
Eating out of home, or diversely convenient take-outs is a guilty pleasure for all.
But for these quick and tempting indulges the question stands, is what we are eating really healthy? We all know the answer to that. So I won’t go in this direction.
Instead, I would advocate how much wonder just a shift towards eating home-cook meals can do to your diet.
This is because when you plan and make your own food words like carbohydrate, protein, vitamins, fats, and dietary fiber intakes will immediately follow into your regime.
Believe it or not, when working with recipes on the plan, you would be more conscious of the merits and demerits of the food in relation to your health. This eventually will lead you to opt for a healthier balanced diet, thereby assisting you to improve your family’s status of well-being.
How to Do Family Meal Planning on A Budget
Now that you know about the advantages and wonders of weekly meal plans, here are some tips as to how you cake make your family more budget-friendly and delicious.
1. Keep Track of The Neighborhood Grocery Sales
Meats, fruits, vegetables, condiments, and other ingredients can be pretty expensive, depending on the type and brands. In this aspect, sales can be a friend in maintaining the budget and stocking up the inventory in advance.
2. Design Your Food Routine With “Seasonality” In Mind
There are two great advantages to paying attention to the season. First, it helps you to obtain fresh ingredients that dynamically enhances the food flavors. Secondly, as vegetable and fruit prices dramatically fluctuate depending on availability, it undoubtedly helps you to save money.
3. Build Up A Solid Meal Plan Schedule
Instead of stressing over what to feed the family all alone, you can ask them to join and help make the process a good family-bonding time. Listen to the preferences, favorites, and together come up with fun solid plans like –
Monday blues– with chicken delights. Wednesday wars– with lasagnas. Saturday night – Mommy’s special rice bowl.
4. Keep Some Food Stalked Up in The Freezer
Even with all the things planned out, there are going to be days when you won’t feel like cooking or go sick. Hence you can prepare foods such as vegetable rolls, chicken or beef kebabs, or pizza dough’s in advance and put them in the freezer.
So that anyone can just take them out and arrange the meal when necessity arrives.
5. Don’t Shy Away from Using Left-Overs
Never feel guilty about eating or using leftover food.
For there is no harm in eating the same meal twice or using the leftover chicken pieces from the previous night to make stir-fried vegetable-chicken rice today.
Planning weekly meals not only saves budget and time, but it also provides a golden chance to improve our lifestyle and family bonds in the process.
“Do we eat to live, or do we live to eat?
Though the question is ironic, but knowing the answer, wouldn’t it be nice if we could share healthy meals with family each day to celebrate life?
And please let me know if you liked my family meal plan ideas in the comments section.