As the weather starts to cool down, tummies are rumbling and families everywhere are scratching their heads looking for new, healthy, inspiring dinner ideas.
Life is busy, we know. So listen, here are some sure-fire ways to make meal planning easy, while still ensuring the dinner at the end is tasty, healthy and gobbled up entirely.
WHAT MEAL TYPES ARE BEST FOR FORWARD PLANNING
Mix and match meals - A collection of healthy food types in your fridge can be prepared ahead, frozen and used in different combinations for your working/school week ahead. Try rice, quinoa, ground meat, roasted vegetables, chicken, pasta, mashed vegetables.
Stews, curries and soups - Any meal that has a high portion of liquid is perfect for slow cooking and pressure cooking and, slow cooked meals are perfect for meal prepping. Healthy, simple ingredients, easy methods and tasty results.
Smoothies, puddings and bakes - Breakfast is often a meal overlooked for planning for the week, but as you know, it really is the most important meal of the day. Chopped fruit can be frozen ahead for smoothies, oats and chia can be soaked overnight for breakfast puddings and baked goods like health bars can incorporate leftovers.
MEAL PLANNING TIPS, HACKS (AND A LITTLE BIT OF CULINARY MAGIC)
Early prep - Prep your meals as soon as you can, post your shop. This way you wont get distracted and food won't go to waste.
Theme nights – Meat-free Monday, Taco Tuesday, Seafood Saturday… you name it! If you have regular themes for different nights, your family will know what to expect, you’ll know what to buy and you won't be stuck for ideas constantly.
Frozen leftovers - Make a little extra every night and freeze the rest. If there’s a night where you can’t cook, then you’ll have something tasty and healthy ready to go.
Buy in bulk - You’ll save money if you are smart with buying freezable food in bulk. Consider investing in a spare freezer, you might need the room!
Double slow cooking - Get creative with tin foil and slow cooker liners so you can create two spaces for two meals in your slow cooker.
Keep a meal journal - When you cook something you love, save it! Then, when you are stuck you have constant (tried and tested) inspiration.