HOW TO GET TO GRIPS WITH MEAL PLANNING DURING LOCKDOWN
NOW is the perfect time to really get to grips with planning.
I am often told in clinic that it is easier to stick to eating healthily when people are not at work. We are living in lockdown and NOW is a really great time to get your house in order when it comes to eating well. You might not be able to do anything else right now – like go out! – but you can start to think about cooking from scratch. Let’s find something positive to take from this.
HOW TO GET MEAL PLANNING RIGHT
Now is the ideal time to really look at planning what you and your family will be eating and when. Eating food you have prepared at home is healthier for you. The key to this is planning. You have probably heard the saying ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. Without a weekly food plan, it will be pure luck if you end up with the right foods in the fridge or cupboard. And, without planning your time, you will not make the time to enjoy breakfast or make that lunch.
The thing about planning is that you need to actually plan to plan. It is easy to get derailed by events, situations, relationships and tasks that insert themselves into our already busy lives.
So, if you are committed to changing the way you eat, rebalancing your hormones, losing weight and, in fact, making any change in your life, my free guide is perfect for you.
The work starts with a full audit of what you have in the cupboards, fridge and freezer.
Make 3 separate lists and re-order the cupboards, fridge and freezer if needed to make things easier to find.
· Consider what you would need to add to these ingredients to have them be a whole meal. Be prepared to be flexible. We do not know what food availability will look like. There might be an ideal extra thing to add and a ‘if I had to’.
· Eat up the freezer – do not buy more stuff until you eat up the stuff you have.
· Start a habit of this audit being a regular job.
· Be prepared for an emergency ‘use-up’ meal occasionally. This is not Instagram. It does not need to look lovely.
NOW START ON THE ACTUAL PLANNING
Use the weekly planner to look at the week ahead.
Planning your meals and snacks will help you make the best use of anything you have in the house.
Choose a time when you know you will be free every week to plan your meals – breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
Ideally plan midweek for the following week.
Put a reminder alarm on your phone.
If this planning job does not get done, you will have no choice but to shop on a day-to-day basis, which is much more expensive and is also against government guidelines right now.
SHOP YOUR PLAN
Turn these meal plans into a shopping list.
Also create a master list of what you already have in your freezer, fridge and cupboards.
Cross anything you already have off your shopping list
As an experiment, spend at least one week only allowing yourself to buy what is on your shopping list. No extras! The planning and shopping discipline may take a little time to get used to, but it is worth persevering.
WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS?
You might be a person who is used to using up leftovers or you might not be. Either way, our current circumstances mean that it will be helpful to get good at this. Today I want to share some of my favourite resources to help:
Love Food Hate Waste has stacks of interesting ideas to try - https://lovefoodhatewaste.com/recipes
Tesco Real Food has some great ideas for common ingredients - https://realfood.tesco.com/clever-ways-to-use-up-leftovers.html