I don’t know about you, but planning my meals and especially dinner day in and day out it’s one the things I find most boring. When hunger strikes, it’s nothing more frustrating than to start the whole routine of deciding what to cook for dinner any particular afternoon.
The question “what’s for dinner” when you have nothing planned… It brings both Chris and I into a sour mood, quite frankly. And it’s not something we’d waste time and energy on, if we can help it. Most often, we can’t. Help it, I mean. Because more often than not we’ve been poor meal planners.
If you ever had or have a food intolerance, you know well how poor meal planning can mess up more than your mood. So Chris and I often revert back to our good habits to prevent this from happening. It’s one thing to feel bad, and quite another when you know you brought it on yourself.
So, when we do step up our “meal planning”-game, these tips below are the ones that work:
Planning purchases for the upcoming week
When we throw the “what’s for dinner” question back and forth with a frustrating frown, as it were, mostly it’s due to lack of planning. The weekends we’ve properly made plans for next weeks purchases, at least we know there’s something to make for dinner. Well, if we complete the next step, that is:
Shopping the majority of groceries once a week
Running to the store everyday makes for inefficient use of time, and well, it’s quite boring really. To top it off, running to the grocery store everyday because of poor planning often leads to extensive buying. After all, there’s just so many things that seems tempting once we’re there, isn’t it?
Therefore, planning ahead our purchases, and then doing away with one large grocery shopping at the beginning of the week is essential for us. Then, we know that most of the upcoming meals this week are already set, and trips to the grocery store should be effectively limited.
Proper meal planning
Planning a week’s worth of meals to a tee is useful. What’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner? And how many dinners do our ingredients make? Take account of how much of the basics you use in the duration of a week and jolt it down on your shopping list. Plan ingredients and quantities, and measure how much you need to cover every dinner all day of the week. Then buy all of it on your weekly grocery run.
And, if you hate grocery shopping with a vengeance, I can recommend to buy them online and have them delivered to your door.
Making pots and casseroles
And, if the “what’s for dinner” is a tedious question if you don’t know what’s for dinner due to lack of planning, sometimes making dinner, even if you know what to serve, is a real pain in the behind, as it were.
That’s why, in my minimalist approach to food and meal planning, I love pots and casserole that are easily put together, with easy and few ingredients. Pots and casseroles can be varied unlimitedly and most often you just chop and pour all the ingredients in to one pan and cook until complete. Can it be any easier?
To save time, I love doubling my recipes. If I make cauliflower soup, for instance, I try to double the portion I make. Why? Because then dinner for the next day is already done. Just reheat and go.
We all need easy solutions in a hectic life, and reheating leftovers of a home-cooked meal feels much better than to microwave a TV-dinner, don’t you think? The above pots and casseroles are also easy to double, and saves well for later. If we plan well ahead, we might have to cook properly just 3-4 times a week.
If you want to be even more hardcore, you need to don’t stop at meal planning and reheating left-overs, though. While meal planning is enough for me, meal-and-food-prep for the entire week is another route to take, and can simplify your week even more. Doubling recipes and reheating is kind of a meal-prep light.
Never fearing repetition
When I double my recipes and have the leftovers for dinner the next day, repetitions are bound to happen. To make things even easier for myself, I often look to last weeks meals to see what to make for next week. I don’t mind having the same thing for breakfast every day of the week (although I’m known to mix it up during the weekends).
And I usually have my go-to dinner ideas that I revisit week after week. They tend to vary in terms of season and desire, and kind of evolves and varies naturally, without too much interference, as it were.
And yes, that’s basically it: plan weekly purchases, do one large grocery shopping each week, plan meals, make pots and casseroles that brings leftovers, double recipes, and repetition. With these habits down, life gets a little bit easier.
What about you? Are you a planner in terms of meals and food, or do you like to wing it?