I like cooking. But, I find the question ‘what do I cook’ very daunting. I mean you can’t wake up each morning wondering what to cook. That’s the main reason I started meal planning. Another reason is both my husband and I are in synch as to what to expect meal-wise that week. It also helps in delegating responsibilities – for instance, when I know what is to be made, I can ask my husband to chop the vegetables and keep it ready while I focus on another task.
I have also noticed that when you plan your meals, you literally use up every single item in your fridge. There is less / no wastage. Also, the time you spend in the kitchen is considerably less. Nowadays, when I get into the kitchen, I try to wind up the meals + prep within 1.5 hours. Weekends, of course, are an exception. 🙂
I’m no expert in this department, but, as a family, we love to eat good food. And meal planning makes the process a lot more enjoyable. A few notes before I share my meal plan for the week –
1. We do not freeze our food. On most days, we make 3 fresh meals. We do use up leftovers if any. But nothing is kept in the fridge for more than one day. Also, I’m not a huge fan of meal preps – except for making dosa / adai batter which lasts for 2 days. What I’m trying to say here is – I try to keep our meals as fresh as I possibly can. It sounds daunting but this method works for me as long as I know what I’ll be making.
2. Our farmers market is from Thursday – Saturday. So I make the meal plan for about 5-6 days from the day I do grocery shopping. I do all my planning on Evernote and I love it.
3. We try to eat multiple small meals through out the day.
Meal 1 (On rising) is always soaked almonds/raisins. It is followed by either coffee or milk.
Meal 2 is breakfast. We try to have our breakfast within 2 hours of waking up.
Meal 3 (around 11 AM) is fresh fruits/salad/juice – we do not skip this meal.
Meal 4 is lunch.
Meal 5 is evening chai/juice/snacks. For snacks, it is either some fresh fruit or anything that I happen to bake in the weekend. Nothing fancy.
Meal 6 is dinner.
Meal 7 is Haldi Doodh, if required.
Note – Meal 1, Meal 3, Meal 5 and Meal 7 are not included in my weekly planner.
4. I usually bake on the weekends. I also make homemade pickles/chutneys that we can use as accompaniment through the week on weekends.
5. I soak most dals the night before – it reduces cooking time in the morning.
6. I try to include one or two medicinal/sattvic lunch per week – like thipili rasam, khichdi-kadhi etc.
7. Fresh fruits and salads are a must in my household. It doesn’t make it to the planner because it is just ingrained into our systems now.
8. Owing to our multi-cultural brought up, we cook a lot of different cuisines. Every-day food in our home has influence from the following states of India – Bihar, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The good thing is the menu is constantly evolving and it never gets boring.
9. Our two-year daughter usually eats what we eat. On days when I feel she wouldn’t like the roti – subzi combo, we make a simple varan bhat (dal chawal) for her with subzi. And, she loves to have doodh roti for dinner – so that happens once or twice a week. I don’t make anything different for her – she has been on family food from the day she started solids.
10. Our lunch usually includes homemade pickles/ chutneys that we make as accompaniment during the weekend. And lunch always ends with a cup of dahi or buttermilk.
11. Saturday night is invariably a pizza night. Read our Saturday evening ritual here. 🙂
12. We cook all our meals at home. Eating out has become close to zero after we moved to the UK – except for the bakes or snacks that we pick up once in a while.
13. Before you think, I am a superwoman who makes all the meals herself – I thought of letting you know that I have a super supportive partner who shares equal responsibility in the kitchen. On some days he does more than what I do and that’s how we thrive.
Alright on to this weeks meal plan – This keeps changing each week based on the availability of groceries. I’ll add a couple of more meal plans in the coming weeks here.
Hope you found this useful. Thank You for your time.
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