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Meal Planning: Why I love it.

Meal Planning - Why I love it __ Our Urban Box

 

There is nothing more I detest than getting home from work and not having any flippin idea on what I am going to cook for dinner. Standing in front of a bare fridge, kids whinging because they are hungry and all you can think of (and have ingredients for) is cereal or vegemite sandwiches. It. Does. My. Head. In. It is the worst way to end the day. Nobody is happy. Well the kids probably would be happy with cereal or vegemite sandwiches for dinner, at least they would eat it. 

I started meal planning when I went back to work after having Mr 5. I wouldn’t get home till about 6pm and I needed to know what we were eating. I didn’t want to have to duck into Coles on my way home with a tired and cranky bub. It worked so well I have stuck to it. Life is so much easier and calmer when I know what the heck I am cooking for dinner.

Here’s why I love it:

♡ It saves me time and stress! 20 mins spent each Sunday morning writing out my plan and shopping list, saves me so much stress later in the week. Who really wants to have to duck into Coles on their way home from work with tired and cranky kids. Not me, and I’m guessing not you! Each morning I look at my plan, pull out the meat to defrost while I’m at work. And I’m done.

♡ It saves me money. I only buy what I need at the shops for that week. No extra’s because I have no freaking clue what I am cooking that week so I will grab all the meat things in case. Yep, I grab my 4/5 packages of mince, chicken etc and off I go. It means my pantry doesn’t turn into a mini supermarket with a trillion jars and packets that I bought and have never used. Each week I do go through my pantry to see if the is anything in there that wasn’t used last week and I make sure to use it that week.

♡ We eat healthier. Despite my above comment about jars and packets, I actually don’t cook with sauces from jars (except for one meal that my kids love). I make all things from scratch. So by having all the necessary ingredients at hand, I know I can prepare a quick and easy meal with what I have at home.

♡ We eat more variety. The weeks I don’t get organised and meal plan, I resort back to the same old meals because I know the kids will eat them. There is nothing wrong with this of course, these meals are family favourites, but I do try and compare the new meal plan with the old one from the previous week to make sure they are different enough so that The Mr and I get a little bit of variety. I try to balance our meals out by ensuring we don’t eat too much mince or chicken in one week. If we are having salmon that week, I will cook a budget meal to balance out the cost.

♡ The kids get their favourites. There are two meals I know the kids will devour so I make sure one of them are on the plan each week.

♡ It works well with a shift working hubby. The nights The Mr isn’t working I will plan for meals I know he can cook well. All he has to do is look at the list on the fridge and see what we are having.

Do you meal plan? Or do you live on the wild side of the kitchen and just wing it every night?

fleursig

 

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37 Comments

  1. Lucy @ Bake Play Smile

    March 12, 2015 at 7:10 am

    Yes! I totally agree! Meal planning is great! I usually sit down and meal plan while I do my online grocery order. Mind you, I do sometimes get a bit off track during the week and don’t always stick to it!
    Lucy @ Bake Play Smile recently posted…Malteser Bunny Chocolate CupcakesMy Profile

    1. Fleur - Our Urban Box

      March 15, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      I do too. Something comes up or you don’t feel like cooking and grab takeaway. And thats ok, I just use that meal next week. I really should get back into online ordering. Although I did my groceries on Saturday night and it was great. No kids, no other shoppers!
      Fleur – Our Urban Box recently posted…Grateful Sunday #11My Profile

  2. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid

    March 12, 2015 at 7:22 am

    I love meal planning for all the reasons you’ve said. It saves time, money and keeps us on track with healthy eating. One of the best things is that there’s no waste, leftovers can be magic-ed up into another winner dinner or frozen for a quick dinner another week. What’s not to love?!
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    1. Fleur - Our Urban Box

      March 15, 2015 at 9:45 pm

      My thoughts exactly Sammie! Why wouldn’t you meal plan? Hubby always takes any leftovers to work for lunch the next day.
      Fleur – Our Urban Box recently posted…Grateful Sunday #11My Profile

  3. Lauren @ Create Bake Make

    March 12, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Haha, I was nodding along as I read this! I love meal planning too and agree there is NOTHING worse than being stuck for dinner ideas with cranky children around.
    Lauren @ Create Bake Make recently posted…Peanut Butter Rice Bubble SliceMy Profile

    1. Fleur - Our Urban Box

      March 15, 2015 at 9:46 pm

      Totally agree – nothing WORSE!!
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  4. Karin @ Calm to Conniption

    March 12, 2015 at 7:50 am

    I want to meal plan, I really do, but I never quite get there. I am going to have to start so downloaded Fat Mum Slim’s meal plan so must print some out and get started. Will become an organisational Queen!! Hopefully 🙂 x
    Karin @ Calm to Conniption recently posted…Bringing home baby: What to eat? Part 1My Profile

    1. Fleur - Our Urban Box

      March 15, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      You really should try it. Makes life so much easier. xx Good Luck x

  5. Ashlea @ Glamour Coastal Living

    March 12, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I am a firm believer in meal planning – I do the same at the start of each week and it really does save money (and time!!) 🙂
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    1. Fleur - Our Urban Box

      March 15, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      Yay for Team Meal Planner!! xx
      Fleur – Our Urban Box recently posted…Grateful Sunday #11My Profile

  6. Monique@The Urban Mum

    March 12, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Hmm – not sure I would describe my method meal planning – although I guess it is in a vague way – I do have a look in the freezer a few days ahead, and top up fresh ingredients during the week. Never wing it though – as you say, hungry kids and spur of the meal planning DO NOT mix…debating the Thermomix (well actually have been debating it for about two years) – wondering if it will help? Because I am so slack on the budgeting side of things I thought it might actually save me money in the long run by making me a stricter planner – food for thought! x
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    1. Fleur - Our Urban Box

      March 16, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      I have a thermomix. It can save you money, but it doesn’t save me any money. I think if you use it to it’s full advantage then yes, you would save money. But I use mine a bit sporadically. xx
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  7. erin @ erinmadethis.com

    March 12, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Freaking love meal planning. I get SO excited once a fortnight coming up with meals and writing the grocery list!
    erin @ erinmadethis.com recently posted…Banana Salted Caramel Layer Cake with Dark Chocolate FrostingMy Profile

    1. Fleur - Our Urban Box

      March 16, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      Haha Erin, I don’t get that excited over it. Can tell your a food blogger lol xx
      Fleur – Our Urban Box recently posted…Newsletter Launch and a freebie!My Profile

  8. Melinda Mcqueen

    March 12, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Argh. Fleur I really need to do this!
    with 2 kids and a hubby renovating -so doesn’t get home till late.
    I just bought a cooked chook at Coles in my lunch break for dinner tonight . it’s such a pain.

    I also need to find 15 min meals that are healthy!

    1. Fleur - Our Urban Box

      March 16, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      nothing wrong with a cooked chook! Try it for a few weeks and see how you go x
      Fleur – Our Urban Box recently posted…Newsletter Launch and a freebie!My Profile

  9. JENNI from Styling Curvy

    March 12, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    My kids are older teenagers do these days we wing it but definitely had more structure when they were younger. Sometimes we would plan together and the boys would cook one meal each for the week.
    JENNI from Styling Curvy recently posted…SKIRT LOVE AFFAIRMy Profile

    1. Fleur - Our Urban Box

      March 16, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      I can’t wait for the day my kids can cook me dinner…. how nice that will be! xx
      Fleur – Our Urban Box recently posted…Newsletter Launch and a freebie!My Profile

  10. peregrinationgourmande

    March 13, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    I do the same . I hate to waste food so it perfect. And above all I hate the supermarkets so i try to keep on my ideas and sometimes prépare in advance. Xx cathy
    peregrinationgourmande recently posted…Home-made Reese’sMy Profile

    1. Fleur - Our Urban Box

      March 16, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      Wasting less food is definitely a good reason to love meal planning!
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  11. Jess @ A Little Part of the World

    March 14, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    I don’t meal plan but would love to. I find that the weeks I do something comes up and I end up not cooking it and then food goes to waste. I must persevere because some afternoons it get to food o-clock and I have no idea wha I’m cooking for dinner!! Jx
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    1. Fleur - Our Urban Box

      March 16, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      I find if something comes up and I have already defrosted the meat I just use it the next night. Then again, not much comes up in our less than thrilling social lives! Weekends I am more relaxed, but during the week we stick to the plan.
      Fleur – Our Urban Box recently posted…Newsletter Launch and a freebie!My Profile

  12. Raychael aka Mystery Case

    March 16, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I go through stages. Hubby on the other hand likes to fly by the seat of his pants when it comes to meals. It’s almost like he forgets they are a reoccurring event and he gets to 6pm each day and wonders what meal with miraculously appear.
    Raychael aka Mystery Case recently posted…From The Case Kitchen | Pumpkin ScoopMy Profile

    1. Fleur - Our Urban Box

      March 16, 2015 at 7:32 pm

      oh yes! My hubby can be exactly the same if for some reason he has to cook and I have nothing prepared! He will usually cook ravioli on those nights – the kids love it!
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  13. Jess

    March 16, 2015 at 10:09 am

    We try to meal plan for week days, and weekends are more free. I know its always better when I plan, as I don get stuck getting takeaway on the way home from work! Ends up cheaper and healthier to plan.
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  14. Erika @ Ever-changing Life of a Mum

    March 16, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Yes, I definitely meal plan as it saves time wondering what I’m going to make, helps with the grocery shopping budget and wastes less food. I keep it flexible though and still choose what we are going to eat each day from the list of available meals I have selected for the week, and I always keep one night open as an ‘easy’ meal whether that ends up being takeaway or something really simple like eggs and bacon or mac and cheese.
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  15. Luisa @ Looking for mama me

    March 16, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Im all over the meal planning! especially with a small baby if I dont plan ahead we end up with pasta for the third night in a row. Its definitely great for saving money too! I usually plan meals that use some of the same ingredients so I dont waste anything. Would love to see some of your weekly meal plans 🙂
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  16. Ness

    March 16, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    I’m usually a bit ad hoc and waiting for the dinner fairy who never arrives. I would like to start planning more though, because I’m trying to be healthy.You may have sold me on it.
    Ness recently posted…Parenting FailMy Profile

  17. Mumma McD

    March 16, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I don’t understand how people DON’T meal plan! How do you know what to buy at the shops if you don’t know what you’re going to cook??? Meal planning is a big part of my Sunday ritual too, I really enjoy going through my cookbooks and deciding what we’re going to eat… We do have nights where we go “off plan” of course, but for the most part we stick to the plan, because it works!
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  18. Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    March 16, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    I do like a good meal plan for all the reasons you have noted here. It makes the whole decision on what to cook a lot easier. I just need to remember to get the meat out in the morning so I’m not forced to do the mad dash to Coles in the afternoon!
    Kirsty @ My Home Truths recently posted…I Must Confess…an ode to parenting failsMy Profile

  19. Tegan

    March 16, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    I want to meal plan and I know how much better I feel for it when I do but my inner rebel seems to kick and decides that she doesn’t want what I have decided to have for dinner lol!
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  20. Natalie @Our Parallel Connection

    March 16, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    I totally agree with the eating healthier. We have a menu plan for 4 weeks and it means when we hit the shops, we know what we need to buy. There is always veggies and meant available and it stops that quick fix too. Great post
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  21. Janet aka Middle Aged Mama

    March 17, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    I meal planned for years … now my kids are grown we wing it a lot more often!
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  22. Eva @ The Multitasking Mummy

    March 17, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    I am preparing myself to start meal planning and have even had my graphic designer create a branded meal planner printable, that’s how serious I am! Now that I have one of those Bellini Intelli Kitchen Master thingy’s I”m hoping that will save me time too. My only worry is that I’m really fussy when it comes to dinner time and that I wont end up feeling like eating what I had planned!
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  23. Vicki @ Boiled Eggs & Soldiers

    March 17, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    Yes, I definitely meal plan for all the reasons you mention. We are bit more relaxed on the weekends but it just makes life easier with less waste when you know what you are having. I can’t say that my kids always eat what I put in the plan but we live in hope!!
    Vicki @ Boiled Eggs & Soldiers recently posted…Quick What’s for Dinner Tonight – Link Up # 2My Profile

  24. Jen @ Love Wednesday

    March 30, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    I don’t meal plan. I should. You make perfect sense. I am always a meal or two ahead of myself but not a whole week like you suggest. I think I thrive on the last minute. But I need to change because I hate feeling like a restaurant. I am going to try a week’s worth Fleur even though I am a bread snob and will only eat it if it’s today’s or yesterdays and don’t get me started with leafy greens… they have to be todays!

    1. Fleur - Our Urban Box

      March 30, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Try and see! I don’t eat much bread these days but I find leafy greens stay fresh in those tupperware fridge smart containers for quite a few days.

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