Another meal time is rolling around and you are wondering what you are going to have. You have limited time to think about this as you have so much else on your plate that takes priority. You have had a hard day at work and all you want to do is zone out and not think about preparing and cooking meals. Sound familiar? I think we can all relate to this!
Isn't is all too easy to dial for a takeaway, go out and get some junk food or grab something quick out of the cupboard even if it has the nutritional value of cardboard. It does not need to be this way. With a little bit of time and some discipline your meals can be a breeze.
Okay I know you are saying don't have time to do this. Yes you do. Make the time to write up a weekly menu plan! You will be glad that you did. Set aside an evening a week or part of your weekend to plan out your meals. Get everyone in the household involved - this might be your flat mates or your partner or children. If everyone has a chance to say what they would like to eat over the coming week, you are more likely to find them keen to chomp into your meal when you put it down in front of them (great trick to get kids to eat well!).
Below are some ideas to help you with your menu planning:
1. Choose meals that suit your lifestyle - if you are going to be in a rush to get off somewhere after work, make the meals quick and easy. Plan the meals that take the greater length of time for the nights you have no other activities.
2. Select a cook - you don't have to do all of the cooking yourself. Encourage other family / household members to do some cooking. Teach them if they don't know how to cook.
3. Try some new recipes - it is always fun to try out a new recipe with your family / friends. Maybe your current routine of meals has become a bit boring / repetitive. Commit to adding a new recipe or two each week to your menu plan.
4. Have some themed meals - how about Indian, Mexican, Vegetarian, Chinese? Make a night / day where you produce meals from another country / region. Spice up your taste buds!
5. Select meals that suit your budget - most people's budgets don't allow them to have prime steak every night of the week or caviar / smoked salmon for lunch every day. So, choose meals that you can afford.
6. Meet dietary requirements of your family / friends - if you have special people in your life that have restrictive diets, ensure you cater for their needs. You might need to spend time with these people understanding what they do / don't / can / can't eat.
7. Consider your health - when planning your meals consider the nutritional value of the meal and also whether or not the meals are high in fats, salts, sugars etc. It is nice to have a treat every now and then to stimulate the taste buds but eating the wrong sorts of foods meal after meal is likely to cost you your health one day in the future.
8. Plan to cook more - when you are preparing to cook a meal, see if you can cook a bit extra. Then you will have an instant meal for a time when you are busy and can't be bothered! You can freeze it, save it in the fridge for the next day or even have it for lunch.
9. Do batch cooking - why not take time out each week to do a big cook up. Whilst the oven / stove is working full steam ahead and whilst the kitchen looks like a bomb has hit it, prepare a few of your favourite recipes at the same time. You can then freeze the meals for consumption at a later date.
10. Enjoy your food - food is an essential part of our life so you should enjoy it. You don't need to live on tinned soup or dried biscuits. Make cooking a fun and enjoyable part of your life. Share the meal time with your loved ones and friends and family.