A little bit of planning ahead is half the battle won!
I get up early on a Saturday morning, and plan a dinner menu for Monday to Friday the following week, and make a shopping list. This helps so much, because I don’t need to go shopping during the workweek, and end up getting tempted by everything on the shelves, and it saves oodles of time and stress deciding what’s for dinner every night, rushing around for ingredients and so on.
We have one rule – no planning on weekends! On weekends we eat something we really feel like on the day, and it helps that both my husband and I love cooking and trying out new recipes. Or we go to our favourite restaurants or try out new ones. I also limit my sweet treats to weekends, and it’ nice to think of it as a reward at the end of a week of good choices. This does not mean the weekend is an endless feast of sugar, oh contraire……. It is my opportunity to really savour every mouthful of a lovely piece of cake, tart or sweet
My weekly dinners are not ‘diet’ meals, they’re not low-fat or low-anything, we cut out no food groups and we really enjoy mealtimes. My healthier choices mean I have smaller portions, normal portions, not so little that you end up famished an hour later, and no more than I need to feel satisfied. Truth be told, I could eat even smaller portions still, and be satisfied after the meal. I keep breakfasts and lunches light and simple, and I have fruit everyday. It is working really well for me and I’m happy to be on a plan that doesn’t involve tearing the skin off all chicken!
Planning ahead for the 5 days also saves money as there are no extra sneak purchases during daily visits to the supermarket. I make sure I do my grocery shopping early, after I’ve had my breakfast at home, so I’m not tempted to listen to my screaming stomach to buy everything I can shovel down my throat.
I know this is all common sense, and these points have probably appeared in magazines countless times, but it really helps me stay on track! It also motivates because I feel chuffed that the week’s meals are planned and decided, ingredients are in the fridge and cupboard, and I don’t have to worry about temptation.
Depending on what we rustle up over weekends, I sometimes double the quantities of a meal and freeze one portion for another time. This is obviously much easier to do in winter with stews and curries, but also works with mac ‘n cheese, and I often make big pots of bolognaise sauce to freeze in single serving portions.
You know what’s great about planning Monday to Friday menus ahead? If you keep them you will have weeks and weeks’ worth of ideas for future menu plans, so you won’t even have to think too hard!