Week 6: Meal Planning: a Nerdy Path to Sanity for Busy Parents

vegan wrap with side salad

My family loves anything in a wrap!

My “podcast” is about getting started with Meal Planning, which I find streamlines my life a lot when I’m running from one thing to another. My first attempt had my son in it but I unfortunately had to scrap that version due to poor sound quality.

For some reason WordPress has decided it’s not safe to upload .m4a file types so I had to do this as a .wav file, which creates a much larger file. Sorry about that! I recorded this a couple of times with different types of microphones and I wasn’t able to really equalise my voice very well. I thought I spoke quite softly but there are points where my voice sort of “buzzes” and I’m not good enough with the editing tools to get rid of it.

I played around with recording in Audacity but ended up editing in Camtasia because I’m just more comfortable with it for video, and I wanted to understand what audio features are available.

Here is a transcript for the hearing impaired or those who prefer skimming:

Hey , everybody. Welcome to my first ever podcast called Meal Planning: a Nerdy Path to Sanity for Busy Parents. So I want to tell you a bit about how I got started doing it and a few steps so that you can get started . I started thinking about meal planning when I realised that one of the most stressful part of my days was standing in front of the refrigerator hoping for inspiration to come to me , and I had to decide what to cook after a long day of work , so I decided to relieve my own stress level, I would give meal planning a try. I had heard of it before and it just seemed like way too structured for me and I didn’t want to try it.

But I did get started and the first thing I did was Google…Microsoft Excel meal planning template or something like that. And then I got one that I could edit for whatever I liked.

I decided to plan for breakfasts and dinners only because lunch usually we eat outside during the week and then on the weekend it’s a bit more relaxed. Then I recommend you think about what rules you have for your family to help you put structure around your planning. Like, in our family, we love to have pizza on Friday. I try to cook vegetarian one day a week and I like to have something special for dinner on Sundays. And then I leave one day open for just sort of cleaning out leftovers and stuff like that. And so that puts a bit of shape around your plan and makes it easier for you.

Then the next step is, think about what sort of things could you make ahead and freeze and put those into your plan. Maybe once or twice a week you decide to cook double. You can Google some websites for freezer-friendly meals. This is especially good for breakfast when you’re tired and you don’t have a lot of energy. So I do things like make veggie muffins ahead, healthy quesadillas with spinach and beans, and I even make bacon or sausage ahead and I freeze it so I can just warm it up in the morning. Soups, stews, anything pasta-related . You can freeze it really nicely and have it ready to go in the fridg , defrosted to warm up when you come home from work .

Then when you start to get ready to plan , you can also ask your family what they would like to have included . My family loves anything in a wrap. So if I ask them what they want , they’ll probably want halloumi and sprouts with hummus and a wrap, chicken in a wrap or something like that . Ask your kids for ideas. We made a little game out of it at one point where I put things on little scraps of paper and my son was allowed to pick things out .

So I guess you’re ready to get your pencil out, the next step . And how much should you plan at once ? Start small and see if it’s for you . Start with one week at a time and see whether you like it. I currently do four weeks in advance because I think it’s just easier. I can sit down and do that and plan for a whole month.

You get your shopping list ready. I even went and googled the same web site where I got my meal plan template. I got a grocery shopping template…Grocery list . Then you can go for your big shop . Maybe you want to do it online.

And then you can put your beautiful plan on the fridge . It might not stop your family from asking you for what’s for dinner, but maybe sometimes you never know . I hope this was interesting for you, the steps to get started with meal planning.

Enjoy the benefits and reduced stress level!

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