If there is one thing I’m best at in the kitchen, its eating. We always have a house helper who is in charge of cooking so I never worried about what to eat.
That was until I became yaya-less for the NTH time.
At present, I am in charge of almost everything in the house, including cooking. Thankfully, I am getting good at it. To make my life easier, I decided to do some weekly meal planning so I don’t have to think about what to cook and to save time and some brain cells thinking about what to serve.
So, I came up with this: Sunday is my grocery day, so at Saturday night, I already plan what dishes to cook on a specific day. I usually get recipes from the Internet, magazines, or cookbooks. If I’m in the mood, I look for recipe inspirations then twist it to suit my own taste. Or at times, I just invent something then cook it again on succeeding weeks, trying to perfect my “imbento” dishes.
Benefits of Meal Planning
To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of meal planning. I just let our helper decide what to cook, with my go signal of course. Then I realized that planning meals ahead could be beneficial, especially now that there is scarcity of extra hands and managing the household could be tiring.
First, it saves me time. Since I plan meals ahead, I usually marinade and/or cook in big batches then just place it in the freezer for future use. I also don’t have to think about what to serve on that specific day and simply refer to my list.
Second, meal planning limits food spoilage. Since I plan ahead, I will only buy ingredients I need for that specific week – apart from our staples in the grocery list – thereby limiting wasted ingredients. Wasted food equals wasted money, and I hate that.
Third, it promotes healthy eating. I have to admit that takeouts or food delivery made my life convenient. I don’t have to wash the dishes and pans and I could use the extra time doing other things, like folding clothes or finishing a deadline. Since I plan ahead (and marinade ahead), I am assured that my family will only eat healthy, natural foods.
More importantly, it is less stressful. Apart from my kids and the household chores, I also have an online job and online business to handle. Call me overreacting but the thought of “What to eat for dinner?” could take up some of my mental energy. Now that I am meal planning, I defrost what needs to be defrosted and prepare what must be prepared, then keep my kids busy in the morning or put them to sleep in the afternoon so I could cook. Just because I am meal planning, it doesn’t mean I have to strictly stick to it and there is no room for adjustment. My husband and I allowed ourselves once a week takeout any day of the week as a “treat.” Also, there are times when the kids requested a specific dish, so I adjust the menu for the day according to their taste.
If you notice, I also left the “Breakfast” part in Week 4 in blank since we often have leftovers. My mom’s helper also brings food for us regularly, so at times, we just eat what was given in the morning.
In other words, add variety to your meal planning and don’t be too stringent. Allow some adjustments on your weekly menu.
You can download the Meal Planning template here to jumpstart your meal planning. Don’t forget to place it in a clearbook filler so you can reuse it and place it on the fridge for easier reference.
How about you mommas? Are you also into meal planning? Share your tips and let’s all learn from each other.
Ayi is a stay-at-home mom of two. When her kids are in their best state, she keeps up with chores, work, and ensuring that her sanity is intact. Join her as she navigates through this rollercoaster ride called motherhood.