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My guide to meal planning: The how & why

I’ve become a bit obsessed with meal planning recently. I’m a routine person, so thinking ahead on what I’m going to have for dinners and lunches for the coming week has really made a massive difference. Planning ahead also gives me a lot more free time and saves me a fair bit of money.

 

So, how do I do it? And more importantly – what are the benefits? I’ve broken it down into little sections below in case you’d be interested in trying it out yourself. Let’s get started!

 

 

THE WHY

Meal planning helps me save a lot of money. Because I plan everything (all the way down to the snacks!) I’m going to eat the next week, I can buy all the ingredients in one big bulk which means there’s a lot less of impulse buying. We do a big shop every Sunday and I always make sure I don’t go hungry – otherwise I know I would buy ALL the crisps and sweets and feel very regretful afterwards…

 

Another big reason is that if I have cooked my food beforehand, I have a lot more time in my hands in the evenings after work. I try to commit to yoga three times a week (I do Yoga with Adriene) but if I know I have to start cooking after exercising, I’m much more likely to a) cook something really unhealthy and b) not do the yoga session at all. However, if I have already prepared something, I know that immediately after I’m done with exercising I can just heat up my food and enjoy it with an episode of something on Netflix with a clear conscience. Win win!

 

THE HOW

Lunches and dinners: I try to do most of my batch cooking on Sundays, but as I’m cooking for two, I don’t always quite manage to make enough to last the entire week. I will however do my best to make something that will last us until the middle of week, after which I just have to cook once until it’s the weekend again. Batch cooking for me usually means making double portions of sauces I find on cookbooks and then as and when I eat them, I prepare the rice/pasta/what have you as an accompaniment.

 

After I’ve eaten the last of the batch I cooked on Sunday, I try to make another big one in that evening to last me until the end of the working week. My main thing is to always have something ready for when I come home from work – I get so hungry that if I had to start cooking at that point the results might be very disastrous and calorific!

 

Snacks: It’s super important to snack healthy too! My blood sugar goes low very easily, and when that happens and I’m super hungry, it’s easy to just make an excuse and grab a chocolate bar or something equally sugary. By planning different healthy (but still yummy!) snacks for each week, it’s easier to resist the urge and never get to that horrible “I’m shaking and I’m angry” level of hunger…

 

My favourite snacks are, in no particular order: berries (especially in the summer, although as these are pretty expensive they are often an ‘after pay day’ sorta treat), rough oatcakes, rice cakes, banana slices with peanut butter, nuts, dried fruits & berries (I love these), carrot sticks with hummus etc etc – the list goes on! If you’re feeling especially motivated, why not make your own flapjacks at home? You can find so many good recipes online by just doing a bit of googling.

 

Breakfasts: I also plan my morning meals a little, although for me there’s not much to do in this respect. I’m very much a routine girl when it comes to breakfast, and I always have the same thing during weekday mornings: porridge oats, frozen berries & peanut butter. It keeps me full for a good couple of hours and is easy to prepare in the office kitchen. For the weekend mornings I always try to think of something a bit more special, like the yogurt/nuts/berry combo I’ve got going on in the the first picture.

 

You don’t necessarily need to plan your breakfasts beforehand, but it’s good to know you’ve got something in your cupboards that you can whip up – you don’t want to have to run to Tesco’s first thing on a Monday morning!

 

 

THE WHAT

Basically anything that you can easily make double portions of are good – sauces, soups & stews work especially well. I thought I would end this post by sharing a few recipes that could be a good start for your batch cooking journey (sorry for just using the word journey…):

 

Sweet potato tomato sauce by Yours Truly – just make a double or even a triple portion

 

Lentil Bolognese by the Ginger Kitchen

 

Thai Green Curry by Cookie and Kate

 

DIY Burrito Bowl by Oh She Glows

 

Aduki Bean Casserole by Aine Carlin

 

Enjoy!


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