Making a case for meal planning

March 1, 2015

A few weeks back I posted on Twitter about having my weekly meal plan all sorted by Friday afternoon, making me feel quite accomplished (normally it’s done Sunday right before my big shop). I had a few people tell me how impressed they were, not that I did it Friday, but that I did it at all. Which made me wonder, don’t most people make a meal plan? Or am I the odd one out and most in fact play it by ear during the week?

I admit, I like things orderly and planned out – I like to know what to expect out of any situation I go into, and that includes what meals I’ll be cooking on what days. I find it helps me reduce food waste (we eat everything we buy – or that’s the plan at least) and be less inclined to get takeaway because there’s “nothing in the fridge.”

Other than that though, it helps me try new things. I love spending Sunday mornings pouring through my cookbooks and browsing online for new recipe ideas to keep things interesting. I have never been one to make the same meal day in, day out. To me that’s boring, and can quite quickly lead to food fatigue. I’ve even taken my food planning a bit further recently by making dishes that use similar ingredients so that I don’t end up wasting a large portion of some veg. For example, if I make tacos with a cabbage slaw, I might make bangers and mash that week so I can use up the rest of the cabbage as a side veg. It doesn’t always work out this way, but I’m trying.

When I do my meal plan, I put it into a spreadsheet so I can also see what I made in the weeks passed. Here is what a typical few weeks might look like:

Ok – so this is kind of an ideal mealplan, but oftentimes life gets in the way as it does and we end up eating out three nights in a row (which happened last week). But on average I try to cook during the week and reserve one or two nights for a takeaway or meal out.

What are your thoughts on meal planning? Do you plan it down to the last detail like I do, or are you more of a wing it and see type of person?

*After I drafted this post an article about meal planning came out in the Huffington Post. They created a very simple infographic with stats on home cooked meals that you might find interesting.

  • Lisa March 13, 2015 at 12:51 am

    Great article. Planning is so important if you want to stay on track with being healthy, losing weight, gaining weight, building muscle… What ever your goal is. Recently I have not been making this a priority and I can certainly feel it both physically and mentally. And although it does seem time consuming when prepping for the week, it sure does sake time during the week. (I like to have a few things prepared ahead of time too!). Nice blog, thanks for reminder!

    • Leicester Veggie March 13, 2015 at 7:31 am

      Thank you! I agree – there are so many benefits to planning out our meals ahead of time, even if it does feel a bit like a chore at first!