Meal Planning – Good for Your Pocket and the Planet!
Published on: April 11, 2020
Who doesn’t love a home-cooked meal? But at the end of a busy day, the thought of preparing a meal can send us straight to the food ordering app (and then feeling guilty about the packaging left at the end). Order no more as Frey has a great approach for meal planning that will help you rediscover the joy in hearing “What’s for dinner?”.
By Frederiek Ilona Schrijver-Bollen
Want to eat more healthily and spend less time in the kitchen? What about saving money and doing better for the planet? Meal prepping is the answer.
Why haven’t we thought about this earlier? For one reason or another meal prepping has a bad reputation. And to be perfectly honest, it can be a bit overwhelming at first.
For me, however, it’s the best thing that ever happened. For one, I love to plan! My to-do lists have to-do lists. Then there is the matter of grocery shopping, which I am not a fan of. Reducing my supermarket trips to only once a week is a dream come true.
Obviously, there is more to it, so before I continue let’s start at the beginning.
What is meal planning all about?
Before I go into the pros and cons of meal planning and share some tips to get started, I want to highlight what meal planning is, and isn’t!
It is creating a dinner plan in one go for the entire week. It is shopping for your food at one time. It is preparing all ingredients before cooking at once. And it does help you to eat more healthily.
It is not the holy grail to an easy life. My kids still don’t eat everything I put on the table. You still have to put time and effort into creating your meals. It’s also not a one size fits all kind of thing — you need to experiment to see what works for you.
But when you have found your way, it means that you can make your weekdays so much easier.
What could meal prepping do for you?
- Save money.
I no longer wander around the supermarket casually chucking items in my trolley, hoping I will do something with it. Nope, I have my list of groceries that I need to buy, and that is what I buy.
- Prevent food waste.
I only buy products that I need. I do occasionally throw away food, but it’s a lot less than what I have done in the past. Less food waste is better for the planet, and again better for my wallet too!
- Creativity in the kitchen.
This is one of the biggest changes. By meal prepping I now sit down and go through my cookbooks and see what to prepare. Before, I’d fall back on my tried and tested dishes. Now I make it my mission to add a new recipe every week.
- Preserve your sanity.
This one I didn’t see coming, but it’s one of the great benefits of meal planning. I no longer need to stress about what to eat every single night. I sit down once a week and have that over and done with.
- Eat more consciously.
For the longest time I have been wanting to cut down on our meat consumption, but I didn’t know any quick and easy vegetarian recipes. So I’d always go back to what was familiar. By taking the time to plan my meals, I have been able to find great new vegetarian recipes!
Get started with these meal prep tips
Meal planning can seem very overwhelming. So my very first recommendation would be to start small. Check out these other tips:
- Choose a day in the week when you think about the meals you’d like to prepare. Start off with recipes you know, and once you get the hang of meal prepping start adding new recipes. Choose the recipes, make your shopping list and get everything at home.
- Prepare double portions, so you have an extra meal for each meal you make. Freeze it and use the next week. Saving time and money!
- Decide if you’d like to prepare all the dishes for the week at once. If you find that too time-consuming (like me!) plan to do this twice a week.
- Invest in square containers that can be used in the freezer. Square, because that stacks well and will help you make optimal use of the space.
- Also plan something easy! There’s at least one day in the week when you don’t feel like cooking. I usually plan a takeaway dinner when my husband works late, or if I have a super busy day. There are also times when I just feel like eating something different from my meal plan. Here’s where those extra portions come in handy!
A week of meal prepping done? You can do it! Just carry on doing it again and again. Learn from your mistakes, adjust, and see how it can make life easier.
Plus you will find yourself spending less on unnecessary products and save food from being thrown out!
Images from Pexels.
About the Author
Frey has been living in Southeast Asia for the past decade, working in the hospitality and wellness industry. Since moving to Bangkok, she has joined her friend Joëlle at My Healthy Bangkok. As a mom of two, she focuses on healthy and easy dishes for the entire family.
The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects.
BAMBI News welcomes volunteer contributors to our magazine. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.