You may think it sounds boring or that you could never get yourself organised to add this to your day or week of chores – let’s face it we’re all so busy anyway!!!
But if you’re the main person in charge of food shopping and preparation in your household, and you are trying to lose some extra kilos, then the chances are that once you get used to this process, you’ll find not only do you save time and money, you will be less stressed, and you’ll find that you will also avoid food wastage.
Now we have your interest!!!
So, what is the best way to develop a pre-planning habit?
Pre-plan your meals for a week – this should only take 30 minutes and will limit your emotional labour of thinking about what’s for dinner to once a week. There is a lot to be said for reducing our decision-making processes. Develop a list of family favourites so you’re not starting from scratch.
Meal planning ensures that you never get caught out and end up ordering take-away if your day suddenly gets busy or you get caught out working later than you expected. It’s one of the best strategies we know to help keep you on track.
Make up your shopping list. Warning: Never go shopping without a grocery list. Ask yourself “What sort of shopper am I? Weekly or daily?” You may choose to do one big shop on the weekend, saving even more of your time and petrol money. If two or three times through the week, always plan for at least two days in advance and always use your shopping list.
Most shopping trips are opportunities for discretionary purchases. The less times you shop, the more of your time and money you might save.
Allocate your cooking day(s) and times. You may decide to batch cook all your meals on the weekend and portion out over the week. You may prefer to cook daily but prep all the ingredients in advance, cutting up vegetables and marinating meat, so you can get straight into cooking.
Once you have developed some favourite recipes, perhaps try 1 or 2 new recipes each week. Get ideas from your family and get them involved in the process and this adds variety as well.
Try these pre-planning tips we have put together for you:
- Doing a roast? Why not cook two different pieces of meat? Try a whole chicken and a pork roast – this gives you lots of extra cold meat for lunches throughout the week.
- Roasting vegetables for dinner – why not do a second tray and use these for lunches?
- Cook double for dinner and have leftovers for lunch – this is one of the easiest ways to get started.
- If you’re baking a dozen protein muffins, it’s just as easy to do a double batch. Great for breakfast or lunch and can also be frozen. If the oven is on – think what else you could cook.
- Slow cookers are life savers!!! If you don’t have one – buy one and use summer and winter. Great for soups, casseroles, soups, meats, virtually anything.
- Salad boxes can be put together while dinner is cooking – mixed lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, nuts – just add left-over cold meat, tinned salmon, hard boiled eggs or your protein of choice.
- If you really get stuck – buy a hot chicken to provide an instant meal and cold cuts for tomorrow.
- Place the weekly meal plan on the fridge, this way everyone knows what’s for dinner. You may be sick of others asking “What’s for dinner?” It also makes you accountable to do your meal planning!!!!
- Have a commitment word – we like the word Focus. Write it on sticky notes and leave everywhere: on the fridge, the bathroom mirror, in your wallet, in the pantry cupboard, office desk – you get the picture!!!
- Schedule your exercise time in advance for the week – non-negotiable. Lay out your exercise clothes at night so they are ready for a morning, lunchtime or evening workout. Keep a set in the car. Simply No Excuses!!
Now it’s time to put some of these tips into action – pick the tip(s) that you think will work best for you, your routine and your family situation.
Put simply – pre-planning will save you time, money AND stress. It will be an enormous help with losing weight – and then maintaining your new body and lifestyle forever. Enjoy!!!