Chasing deadlines, getting ready in a jiffy for that super important meeting, making sure that the kids are ready on time, attending social dos…you get the drift. The average day of a busy woman, be it someone who works in a corporate or someone who is a full-time mom, looks jampacked. Along with such busy schedules, they also need to plan meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When they are not prepared for the same, it may take up a lot of time simply for deciding what to cook.
If this sounds like the daily dilemma in your life as well, hang tight, for we have some time-saving, meal planning tips.
But before that, you need to know what everyone likes to eat. By taking their choice in account, your meal plan will surely be a success. That said, here are the pointers that will help you:
- Review and Plan – No, the first step is not grocery shopping but to review your entire week’s (or even month’s) schedule and then plan. Take into consideration the holidays, special occasions, events and think how much time you will get to prepare the meals, what everyone prefers to eat, what are the groceries and the special ingredients that you will require and so on and so forth.
Write everything down, including your grocery list and a tentative meal plan. This will help you create realistic goals, stick to the budget and minimize food wastage.
- Keep Recipes Handy – Next up, you need to have a collection of recipes handy. For instance, you can include a collection of – kids’ breakfast recipes, easy one-pot meal recipes, instant desserts etc. This will help you break the monotony as you can always come up with a unique combination of the recipes every alternate week without having to start from scratch.
- Do Prep in Advance – It always helps to do some advance prep such as keeping the fruits and veggies chopped in advance. For instance, if you need to prepare something as simple as a pakoda, you can keep the batter ready a day or a few hours beforehand and prepare them fresh and serve them piping hot during meal time.
If you are making a meal from eggs, keep them boiled. For salads, mix and keep the dressing ready in a bottle. And as for ingredients you need in bulk, such as peas, shell and freeze them or buy frozen peas to use instantly in the dishes.
- Cook in Bulk – From rice to quinoa, you need to cook in bulk so that it saves the time and effort needed to cook on a daily basis. This means that whatever you cook, make double the amount and freeze what is left after the meals. Suppose you are cooking chicken. In this case, cook the entire chicken instead of a few pieces here and there. Eat whatever you can and the extra food will work as leftovers and also, serve as a meal for the next day like in a chicken pasta or chicken soup. This takes us to the next point.
- Cook from Leftovers – Leftovers work magic when it comes to meal planning. If you have cooked rice or pasta in bulk, the next day you can reuse them creatively in different recipes such as fried rice or a salad. All you have to do is to ensure that the recipes that you select are no-brainers and take almost no preparation time. This is a great tip for those whose day starts early.
- Keep Instant Food Ready – Ok, let’s admit it that somedays you just don’t feel like executing the meal plans. For days like this, make it a point to stock up on ready-to-eat food like instant noodles, broth or premixes in the pantry. This will save your time at the last-minute. You can also opt for takeaways or food delivery services for that matter.
Calling It a Day
These are some handy meal planning tips that you can use even when you are running short of time. Make the most of these and let us know in the comments what other unique ways can you plan meals for your family. We’re all ears!
Author Bio – Siddhi Panchal is a food blogger at CookingwithSiddhi and food aficionado who loves to cook. Her cooking skills cover a range of Indian and international cuisines. Her aim is to enable other food enthusiasts explore their love for food by helping them cook delectable dishes from India and around the world. Follow her on YouTube
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