It’s whatever way you organize yourself to cook a meal, whether that’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is the plan you make before you shop. Some people plan a month in advance, freezing neatly-labelled packets of soup and stew. Others wing it, shopping for that evening’s meal at the farmers’ market and picking up whatever looks good to them. Meal planning is a really personal thing. What works for you may not work for somebody else. The goal is to find a process that is both enjoyable and effective. Don’t spend too much time looking for the most perfect and impeccably-maintained system. The system is just the tool. The point is the meal. Well, really, it’s people, and enjoying good food with them and nourishing yourself.
Sometimes the hard part is deciding what to cook, with the ingredients in the cupboard, in the time we have available. Taking some time to anticipate cooking, by reading through cookbooks or cutting out recipes from magazines is an important part of meal planning. Meals aren’t just solutions to the problem of needing to eat; making a meal is also an expression of creativity. Find ways to inspire yourself and to look forward to cooking.
This is where a little bit of meal planning can help. Planning your meals for the week removes almost all the stress.
With a little bit of planning, you will have chosen meals that fit how much time you have available to cook and you’ll have the ingredients at hand – so the cooking becomes enjoyable (especially with a glass of wine in your hand!).
As an average household is likely to operate on a selection of around only 11 recipes, meal planning can give you a chance to try out some new and exciting recipes.