Hi there! How is your week going? Mine is flying by which is awesome because there is a public holiday on Friday, score!
Today I wanted to write a little about how important it is to plan ahead when you are trying to save money or/and eat healthy. Yeah I know, meal planning, what a nerd! To be honest I used to think that meal planning was really lame, the idea of sitting at home on a Sunday night to work out what I will eat days in advance just felt kind of stupid. However for the first two months in Korea I have been on a strict budget (waiting for my first full pay!) and I ended up planning out our meals in order to budget correctly.
Turns out this is a great idea, not only is it super easy, but it is really nice knowing that everything is planned for the week. At times I can cook certain things the night before and let them keep overnight to save even more time in the kitchen when I come home from work. Plus I have been trying to eat healthier and add more protein and iron into my diet and meal planning has been great for this.
So how do you do it? Easy.
I sit down on a Sunday night and write down what meals we could have that week, usually I try to find things with similar ingredients. For example last night we had tofu pad thai so tomorrow I will have BBQ tofu in order to use up whats leftover (the boy wont be home for dinner). Once I have come up with a few things I write down which night we will have them. Again common sense when it comes to using ingredients, things like vegetable burgers can be made at the end of the week because they are mainly canned beans, while the sweet potato gnocchi was eaten this evening as the spinach and salad to go with it don’t last that long.
To give you an idea this is what I have this week…
Monday : tofu pad thai
Tuesday: sweet potato gnocchi
Wednesday : BBQ tofu
Thursday: roasted vegetables and vegetable burger
Saturday: dinner out
Even though these things look different all I need to buy are tofu, fresh vegetables, canned beans and corn chips (assuming you always have basics like dried pasta in the house). By choosing things that are easy to make and have similar ingredients it makes saving money a lot easier! And yes one weeks worth of vegetables do last until Sunday, like I said the spinach and lettuce will go first but things like carrots, tomatoes and peppers last until the end of the week for the nachos and pasta.
One thing I like about this is the prep that I can do. Last night when I was making the pad thai I cooked and mashed the sweet potato for the gnocchi and left it in the fridge – made it much easier when I came home from work today! I also find myself eating more variety by planning ahead, I know that next week curry and a home made pizza will probably feature along with eggs. When I wasn’t thinking my meals out like this I could easily eat the same dish a couple of times a week just because I couldn’t be bothered thinking of what to do after work (or of going to the supermarket again). I was also getting in the habit of buying street food on my way home which is tasty but probably not the healthiest.
The other bonus of meal planning is when it comes to healthy eating. I always take a snack to work and knowing what I will be eating that night means that I pick something different each day. Today for example I had almonds and fruit because I knew that my dinner wouldn’t be too full of protein but had a lot of carbs. Tomorrow I will bring some banana bread as my dinner is low carb. And because I love banana bread.
As I type this I realize how lame I sound, but hey don’t knock it until you have tried it!!