I wanted to make a weekly meal plan for ages, but I get ideas and this makes me want to cook something else and I can’t stick to a plan, until now. For our last week away (well, a little bit more than 1 week), I made a meal plan and this is how I discovered How to make a realistic meal plan.
I started by thinking how much time I will have to cook. Basically not a lot, as we were away with work. I also didn’t have a lot of space to cook, as we were caravanning. I have an oven and a hob with 2 burners, a small fridge, but the worktop space is limited. Considering all these, I chose the best options available. We eat shop-bought soup, so I got enough cans for each day, making sure we have 1 of 5 a day and we also have loads of different options. I’m going to talk about the meal plan I did when we were busy, most days include only the breakfast and dinner, as at lunch time we had different things, vegan healthy bars and sandwiches most days.
Because I wasn’t at home, I prepared the rice, cornmeal and pasta by weighting in how much I would need to cook once. I also made the mix for pancakes/cupcakes, dry ingredients, to which I got to add 2 eggs and some milk. It took only 10 minutes to prepare everything. I prepared a few cans of veggies too and I took some coconut milk from home for the risotto. I didn’t want to have to go shopping often.
|B – Sandwich and soup||We had sandwich, soup, and cake.|
|L – Vegan coconut milk risotto with veggies||I made coconut milk risotto with bamboo shoots.|
|D – Mash potatoes and halloumi||Mash potatoes, pan-fried halloumi and red cabbage salad.|
|B – Pasta with veggies||We had pasta with 1 can of peas and 1 can of tomatoes, herbs, and sesame seeds.|
|D – Stir-fry||Stir-fry with leeks, carrots, peppers, mushrooms, and halloumi.|
|B – Baked beans on toast||Baked beans on toast with soup.|
|D – Soup, omelette with salad||Soup. Omelette with salad and 1 pancake.|
|B – Polenta with veggies||Polenta with tomatoes and peas, 1 vegan sausage.|
|D – Soup and stir-fry||Soup. Pan-fried potatoes with grated cheddar, 1 egg, and red cabbage salad.|
|B – Risotto||Risotto with soft cheese and mushrooms.|
|D – Soup, avocado on toast||Avocado on toast with 1 fried egg and garlic mushrooms.|
|B – Baked beans on toast||Baked beans on toast and 1 vegan sausage.|
|D – Soup and stir-fry||Soup. Stir-fry of peppers, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, and onions.|
|B – Soup and pancakes||Soup. Savoury pancakes with mushrooms and cheese.|
|D – Nachos||Nachos with homemade tomato sauce.|
As you can see, I did pretty good. We had at least 3 servings of veggies every day. We also had some fruits, so I don’t think there was a day with less than 4 from the 5-a-day.
So, these are my tips on How to make a realistic meal plan.
Make it flexible.
I think my meal plan was a success because I didn’t think of an exact recipe. I said, for example, “stir-fry” and this meant I could do it with each ever veggies I fancied. As you can see in my plan, we had quite a lot of mushrooms because we both wanted to have more mushrooms that week.
Make it simple.
Another thing that was very important is that I kept everything easy and simple. Not too fancy, so I didn’t have to spend too much time cooking because I didn’t have a lot of it. I made plans before, but it was too complicated for the time and resources I had.
Last time I made a plan, we were away, like this month, but we were staying in a self-catering cottage, I had the pans they provided us with and again, not a lot of worktop to do what I wanted.
Make it convenient.
Use the things you know it will make your life easier and it will also make it more likely you will stick to your meal plan. I used canned soup, canned veggies along fresh veggies and some frozen mushrooms too. At home I have more time and I would cut down on the number of canned foods I would have. So, instead of asking myself to cook from scratch with fresh veggies that I bought that day from the supermarket, I chose convenience for myself. Leaving the caravan at 8.45 and getting back at 6 meant I was able to cook in the mornings and in the evening too. A few years ago I would have left the cottage at 8 and got back at 8 after going to the supermarket to get fresh food. Do I have to point out that we had pizza and pasta almost every evening? I was too tired and had other things to do too.
These are my tips. I will make another meal plan for next week, to see how well I will stick to it while at home.
Do you make meal plans?