When you make any lifestyle change, you won’t get it right the first time. Probably not even the second, or the third – but you’ll learn as you go, and get better with time!
If you’ve just started meal planning, congratulations on taking that step, and starting to take control of your lifestyle! You might have a lot of questions when you first start, so here are the most common questions we get about meal planning, and our answers.
How do I plan for everyone in my family when we all have different tastes and dietary requirements?
Try to get the family involved in the planning as much as possible. Even if that is just getting each person to write down a list of their favourite meals.
Make all your meals vegetable-focussed – most dietary requirements allow for all vegetables, and if it’s picky-eaters you’re dealing with, see if you can hide the vegetables within the meal as much as possible!
Kids will often be fussy about spices and bitter tastes – so have these on the table to add as extras rather than cooking them in the meal, so everyone can enjoy the taste their own way.
Remember meal planning is meant to make your life easier – so don’t stress about trying to fit specifically to everyone’s needs by making multiple meals. Make healthy, nutritious food for the family and make small adjustments when needed for each person.
How do you come up with ideas for new meals?
You don’t have to! Keep it absolutely as simple as possible. It is totally fine to have the same thing for lunch every week day if that keeps things easier. It’s also easy to cook one big base meal that you can serve in different ways, for example: a bolognese sauce that you could have one day with pasta, another day with spiralized zucchini and carrot, and another day in a wrap or a taco!
Have a couple of good recipe books in your kitchen that you can flip through when you want some inspiration. I recommend recipe books over a google search for ‘recipes’, to avoid falling into the never ending online abyss! At least recipe books have a page limit, and they usually have everything you need!
Check out our recipe books here
What if I don’t like cooking?
Some people love spending time in their kitchen creating tasty dishes. What if you’re not one of those people, but you still want to plan for a healthy, nutritious diet?
The good news is, with today’s busy lifestyles and high demand for convenience foods – there are a lot of healthy options available! You just need to know how to choose the right ones.
Some good supermarket options for the non-chefs are:
Also don’t be afraid of cooking – it doesn’t have to be complicated or take a lot of time. A simple vegetable stir fry can be made in under 15 minutes and is nutritious and satisfying! Try to at least try cooking once a week to start with.
Do I need to meal prep everything in advance?
No. Menu planning is about being organised and taking the decision making out of every day, therefore decreasing stress. It does not mean you have to spend your entire Sunday cooking meals for the week and storing them in containers! That’s called meal prep, and while it can be a really great way to get organised for the week and make sure you’re eating healthy food, it’s not for everyone. You need to find a system that works for you. If you enjoy cooking dinner each night and you have the time, you might do that. Or you might share out the cooking between family members each day. There are no perfect rules to follow – just what works for you in your own life!
I live on my own, how do I meal plan for one?
Lucky you! Meal planning for one is so much easier than for a whole family! You can plan exactly to suit yourself.
Meal planning may even be more important for you, because it’s often easy to just grab something quick and easy, or not bother too much with the quality of your food if you’re short on time and it’s ‘only for me’. You are just as important as anyone else, so you need to plan ahead to look after your health and your body!
Utilise your freezer – often recipes will serve 3 or more, so freeze the remaining portions for when you want them, especially if you don’t love eating the same meal 3 nights in a row.
Use a base protein each week that you can use different ways – for example roast chicken that you can use in a wrap for lunches, put into a soup for dinners etc.
Get a few good ‘waste minimising’ recipes – for example soups are great for using up veggies that are no longer fresh, veggie burger recipes are great for blending in leftover leafy greens that don’t cut it for a salad. Slowly increase your repertoire of recipes to use up all your ingredients and reduce waste.
How do I find the time and motivation to meal plan every week?
Well, the time is there, you simply have to make meal planning a priority! Remind yourself how much time you’re going to save yourself each day if you have planned ahead.
The motivation should always come from your WHY. Your true reason for wanting to improve the way you live, the reason you are here reading this email, the reason you are striving for self-improvement! To begin with, you have to keep reminding yourself of your why, and talking yourself through it. But soon all these healthy habits will become a part of your life, and you won’t need to struggle to find motivation, it will just be there. You don’t need to force yourself to do anything; just by making small changes every day, you will start to live a healthier life, not because you have to but because you want to!
Want some guidance on how to effectively meal prep for a month? We take all the hard work out of it for you- you’ll be amazed at how much extra time and energy you’ll have!