Meal planning – setting the foundation.

In this part of the series we will set the foundation for your meals. You can read about whether to go old school or new school here.

Meal planning can be a tedious task involving many hours of work, but the result will be well worth it. So grab these few things, and let’s do it right, the first time:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser

Ok! Let’s get started. Here you will set the foundation for your menu. This post will determine the “why”, “how” and “when”. The “what” and “how” is briefly covered here but expanded on in further detail in later posts.

It is very important that you don’t skip this part!

Here are the questions you need to consider:

  1. What am I trying to achieve? Why am I meal planning?
  2. What day of the week is shopping day?
  3. What day of the week will my menu start?
  4. How long will my menu run for?
  5. Will you include breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner?
  6. How often will you do this?

In case you’re needing some further guidance, or can’t think right now, here are some things to consider :

1. What am I trying to achieve? Why am I meal planning?

The reasons I meal plan can be found here. Your reasons could be different. In a nutshell, I’m trying to achieve greater efficiency with less wastage.

2. What day of the week will I shop?

I shop either on a Thursday night or Friday morning, sometimes both. This is due to work and other commitments. Do you have other commitments that influence the day you shop?

3. What day does your menu begin?

Could be the same day as your shopping day, or after. This will influence the way you set out your plan.

4. How long will my menu run for?

I plan 4 weeks at a time. I recommend this time frame because of variety of food and not having to constantly ask what’s for dinner next week. Yours may be longer or shorter to suit your individual circumstances.

5. Will you include breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner?

Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be fancy or restaurant type meals. It can be a simple pie for lunch or weetbix for breakfast. This answer will influence your shopping list preparation.

6. How often will you do this?

Weekly? Fortnightly? Monthly? Seasonally? I rotate through my plan for a season. This may or may not work for you.

If you’re interested in how I do it, and what works for my family, you can read about it here.

You should have a bit more of an idea now on how it’s all going to work for you.

My next post will be an FAQ post. Let me know your thoughts about this post or questions in the comments 😊

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Disclaimer: this post is based on my personal opinion and experiences and may not be applicable to your individual circumstances.

Featured image by Pexels

22 thoughts on “Meal planning – setting the foundation.

  1. very insightful. Menu planning is so important for my family and budget. In the beginning I simply planned 5 dinners but the truth is that may family isn’t home 5 nights a week and I was leaving off the weekend! So now my menu planning depends on the family calendar. I have learned that I may need a few as 2 dinners per week! Saves a ton of money!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Limited freezer space. Therefore can only plan and buy for the next 2-3 days at a time. Or do “just in time” shopping, for example, when I plan to make the Bbq ribs, I will need to buy and start to defrost in fridge a couple days before that meal.
          Also try to buy ingredients that don’t turn bad too easily in a day or two. Just in case our home dining needs to be delayed.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to do this (and sometimes wish I still do!) but quick changing schedules are hard to predict. I now use a chart of all the frequent meals and plan each day according to what I have in the freezer. 😀 But you are right though, planning ahead does save time and money.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for laying it out like this, I think I’m going to give this a try. I’m vegetarian and my 20 yr old son isn’t. Makes it hard to cook at home most days. But I would like to use this idea for planning meals for lunch at work too. I’ll read some more to see if you have tips for veggie lunch ideas. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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