Step-by-step meal planning guide

We’re all busy people with busy lives and this often impacts on our evening meals. The freezer might have some meat in it, but that will take too long to thaw and cook, right? So eating out, ordering takeaway or heating a prepackaged meal can become the quick fix.

If this sounds all too familiar, meal planning can prevent it. Meal planning plays an important role in ensuring you and your family enjoy a healthy balanced diet. It also alleviates the daily stress of deciding what’s for dinner, puts a stop to the constant trips to the shops and saves you money.

We’ve developed a few tips to help you and your family (the kids will love to get involved) plan your meals and enjoy fresh, natural and healthy produce.

1) Sit down and work out what you would like your weekly plan to include in general terms. For example, each week would you like to have one stirfry meal, a pasta meal, a slow cooker/soup meal, a salad, steak or mince beef meal etc. This template will vary depending on how much meat you like to eat, your budget, household and likes/dislikes.

2) Think about maximising some cheaper cuts of meat, as well as treating yourself to some premium cuts. The slow cooker is a great way to turn things like lamb shoulder, gravy beef, osso bucco, chuck and ribs into family favourites.

3) Decide on a handful of dinners that your family will enjoy regularly. These can form the foundation of your meal plan and rotate onto your dinner table every week or two. You might decide on 10 dinners, for example, that you use once every two weeks. This would leave two dinners a week to add variety to your meal plan and try new recipes and flavours.

4) Once you’ve decided on the look and feel of your meal plan, considered how you might use different cuts to stretch your protein dollars and developed your core dinner recipes, it’s time to buy what you need. With our online ordering and free home delivery service, we would encourage you to order on Wednesday nights for Friday/Saturday delivery. This allows you to pick up your fresh fruit and vegetables on Saturday morning and kick off your first dinner for the week that night.

Nutrition Australia has some useful meal plan templates and recipes that might help you further here.