Meal planning is a good start to getting your food budgeting on track, but you probably need to ask yourself some questions:
- Can I cook?
- Am I interested in cooking?
- Can I make time to cook?
- What is my motivation to learn how to cook, or invest time in cooking meals? Is it self-interest, life-skills, food-allergies, saving money?
- What kind of foods do I like to eat, can I learn to cook/prepare it?
- What do I like to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner – special dietary requirements?
- Do these meals require special preparation or do they perish easily?
- When and how do I like to eat?
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner – do I normally eat socially, buy take-away or sit in a cafe/restaurant?
- Do I just buy food because I don’t know how to cook and it’s all too hard?
- Are you on a diet, do you fast?
- Do you have a repertoire of quick and easy ‘go to’ recipes?
- Do you have the necessary equipment and space in the kitchen to cook at home?
- What ingredients do I need to have in the fridge/pantry?
- What does a meal plan look like, how do I start one?
Google, print, screen shot a bunch of easy recipes that you think look appetising that you might want to give a go at home. Think about what kind of ingredient you would need to execute your chosen weekly meal plan. How perishable are the grocery items needed, how far you can purchase it in advance prior to the meal being cooked, how much of the items do you need to purchase. Schedule it out. Buy only what you need.
Meal planning can save you money, if you’re planned and organised.
Cook on the weekend for the week, or cook every night with an extra portion to take to work for lunch the next day. Learn how to freeze food and which foods freeze and reheat well so you have readily available meals when you don’t have time to cook, so you don’t need to resort to take-away. What can you buy and put into containers for the week?
Some examples of meal planning articles and blogs:
- Eating Well – 7 day heart healthy meal plan 1200 calories
- Taste – Plan a month of healthy eating
- Huffington Post – What a healthy and achievable 7 day meal plan looks like
- Good House Keeping – 1200 calorie diet plan
- Don’t waste the crumbs
- Project Meal Plan – 5 steps to a weekly meal plan
Other Happily Zen posts: