Feeding the family isn’t always the easiest of tasks. We understand that sometimes you might run out of ideas that meet everyone’s specific dietary requirements and preferences, while also trying to keep the meals balanced, delicious, exciting, different and nutritious.
To help ease out the pressure we’ve made a list of some of our top family meal planning tips, that will help you save time and get everyone involved.
Read on to learn more about our top tips that you can start applying to your cooking from today.
Organisation is key
You may have guessed it, but meal planning and organisation go hand-in-hand for a reason. The first tip would be to make sure you’re getting everything written down and organised at the beginning of the week – that could be potential recipes to cook, ingredients you’ll need, current food trends or your loved ones’ dietary preferences.
We suggest dedicating one notebook for writing down all things food related, in order to keep your culinary ideas in one place that’s easy to refer back to. It’s also a good idea to spend some time before your week starts to prep for next week’s meals – this could mean buying ingredients for the week or preparing some meals for the freezer. This level of organisation will save you from frantically having to run out to the shops, when you suddenly realise that you have no peas to go with your fish and chips!
2. Better together
Ever feel like coming up with meal ideas, cooking them and then also serving the food can get a little much at times? Don’t let the task fall only on you – you can enlist the help of your loved ones and get them involved in the whole process too!
By getting your little helpers to participate, not only does it take the stress off the person cooking, but it’s also a great opportunity to spend some quality family time together. And if you’re wondering what child-friendly cooking looks like, then check out these superb family meal ideas to cook with the kids.
3. Love your leftovers
Ok, everyone should love leftovers but even if you don’t, now is your time to embrace them! Leftovers are a godsend when it comes to meal planning for the family; they require minimal cooking time and are also a handy way to empty out your fridge or freezer. Plus, it’s a great chance to reduce the amount of household food waste – so if you haven’t been doing so, now’s your time to make the most of your frozen leftovers!
4. Stay seasonal…or use frozen
So many recipes to try, yet so little time to cook them all! So how can you narrow it down? A good place to start at is by simply checking what produce is in season at that current moment. For example, did you know that Brussels sprouts and apples are best during the winter, while food such as beetroot and cauliflower is seasonal and at their best during the summer?
But don’t worry if you are craving those freshly harvested peas or summer-loving sweetcorn in the depth of winter; one of the great benefits of frozen food is that the freezing process locks in the fresh goodness, so that you can enjoy delicious and nutritious delicacies at any time of the year. For some great inspo on seasonal dishes using either fresh or frozen food, head on over to our page filled with autumn recipe ideas or check out these winter warmer meal ideas.
5. Explore new cuisines
As much as we would like to, travelling and trying foreign food isn’t always a possibility, but you can still experience different cultures from the comfort of your own kitchen, through the food you cook! It will also help your mealtimes become a more interactive and entertaining experience to be enjoyed by the whole family.
Why not dedicate one night a week to have a themed meal? You could be transported to India with a fragrant curry, envision the bustling Italian piazzas with a pasta dish or even get your sombreros out and celebrate all the culinary delights that Mexican dishes have to offer.
Feel like you’re ready to embark on a new cooking schedule, including all these fabulous family meal planning tips? In order to get yourself started, check out our recipe home page where you’ll be able to find a whole variety of mouth-watering dishes for the whole family to love; from our tasty chicken dipper fajitas to our creamy cod carbonara – we can guarantee they’ll be a smashing success.