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BMBL Podcast 007: What is Meal Planning?

Welcome to Episode 007 of the Busy Mum. Balanced Life. podcast.

This episode is all about what is meal planning, how you can get started and debunks popular meal planning myths!

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Transcript

This is episode seven of the Busy Mum. Balanced Life. podcast.

Hey, this is Mim Jenkinson and you’re listening to the Busy Mum Balance Life Podcast.

Welcome back. Today I want to talk to you all about meal planning and really I want to tell you that meal planning isn’t as overwhelming as some of you might think it is. And I get so many questions about planning generally. As you know, I’m into planning and trying to stay organized and planning ahead and being on top of things for the family and for me. But meal planning is a theme that comes up a lot when I’m having conversations with readers or even friends who want to be more organized when it comes to cooking and preparing the family meals, but don’t really know where to start. So I just want to break down that. Meal planning is really simple. It isn’t a long drawn out process. As soon as you kind of get into the hang of things, it’s a really great way of being kind of feeling a lot more organized but ultimately saving you so much time and money and waste as well.

It isn’t something I do every week. And in fact, I can go for weeks without meal planning and suddenly realize that I need to get back on track because I am kind of staring at the fridge at 5:00 PM on a Monday going, what the hell am I going to cook for the family? I just hate that feeling of panic and overwhelm. And it tends to be those times where I make bad food choices that are probably not the best or are very rushed and stressed or we’ll go for takeaways. And there’s nothing wrong with having, you know, the occasional freezer meal or takeaway or any of those things. We do that, but meal planning can include those things. Um, and it’s a really flexible process. So that’s why I wanted to talk a little bit more about meal planning today and break it down a bit more for you.

Essentially meal planning is when you plan for the week ahead or it could be the month ahead of you. Super organized, but you plan for the week ahead what you are going to eat, whether that’s just for you, you and your partner, your whole family, whoever your cooking for. So it’s planning the meals that you’re going to make. And the best place to start when you’re doing that is really to see what food you’re already having. Because what you don’t want to do is kind of waste time and money shopping for groceries and food items to stock your fridge or your freezer or Pantry when you’ve already got to food in that you need to actually use. I’m going to give you some more tips on that in a moment but you decide what you want to make. You look for recipes and decide what the family is gonna eat and then you make sure that you shop for the gaps that you still need.

When you’re done that audit of the Pantry, fridge and freezer, see what you already need. And then when you’ve got the recipes, you’ve organized to go shopping, then you’re actually going to set the plan. So you know, every day what you’re going to be making. And the biggest benefit of that for me is that every day when I wake up, I already know what we having for dinner. I might have even already made it in advance. However, there is a difference between meal prepping and meal planning, which I’ll tell you about next. Um, but it that every day I know what we having. I have a planner so that I can see what we’re having. When the kids say what’s for dinner, they can check it themselves if they want to. My husband knows as well, he isn’t the cook in our house. If your partner or someone that you live with does the cooking, I’m so jealous! Mine isn’t, he can’t cook a thing, like literally pretty much nothing. Um, anyway, I digress.

That’s as simple as meal planning is – deciding what you’re going to make, making sure that you’ve got the ingredients in and then set in the plan. So you know, everyday what you’re going to be having. There are a few myths about meal planning that I wanted to break down though. So, as I’ve just touched on, meal planning is not the same as meal prepping. The two can go hand in hand, but they are different. So meal planning is planning what you’re going to cook and what you’re going to eat. Meal prepping is the actual prep for those ingredients and you might do it together, but basically it’s, you know, when you see people, um, chopping all the vegetables on a Sunday that they’re going to be using for the rest of the week or the next couple of days or making a huge batch of one particular meal and then freezing portions of it or having them stocked in the fridge.

To me, that’s what ‘meal prep’ is. And if you do meal prepping and meal planning together, that’s like the ultimate in organization when it comes to making meals because you can plan ahead way more. You always have gotos on hand in the freezer. You might even have the whole week’s meals prepared and just on a Sunday afternoon by prepping and planning at the same time. So you can do them together, but they’re not the same thing. So if you think that meal planning is spending hours and hours on a Sunday chopping vegetables and making freezer meals, that’s not the case. So don’t worry about that. Myth number two about meal planning is that you need to be a good cook. I really enjoy cooking. I think I’m, you know, pretty good at it, but I’m certainly not a pro. I know how to cook. But essentially the reason I know how to cook is because I know how to follow a recipe.

I’m so, as long as the recipe is a good one, I’m a good cook, right? As long as I follow it to the letter. But you don’t need to be like a really great cook. You’re not looking to come up with, you know, some amazing recipes from scratch yourself, unless that’s something that you really want to do. As long as you can follow a recipe and you have all the tools and equipment and food that you need, that’s all you need to be able to do. And another myth about meal planning is that you need to be a naturally super organized person. And you do not. The whole point of getting into meal planning is that making the meal plan itself makes you organized. You don’t need to be organized in advance as long as you’ve got the plan that you need and you know how the step by step guide of how to do it, which I’m going to talk to you about, that’s all you need to know to actually be able to plan ahead and be good at meal planning.

You will become more organized by meal planning. You don’t need to be organized to start doing it. Okay. Next and meal planning is for diets only are people want to lose weight. That’s another myth. It’s not the case. Some people actually meal plan just because they want to be organized. Some they do it specifically to save time or to save money or because they just enjoy the process. Many people do meal plan to stay on track with a particular way of eating, whether it’s a diet or some kind of lifestyle change or meal plan, um, specific to what they’re eating. However, it’s not the case that everyone is and that isn’t the reason that I meal plan personally. And then the next myth is that you have no flexibility when it comes to meal planning. So to do it correctly, you have to set the meal plan for the week and stick to it.

And that really is not the case as well. If it suits you to change things up through the week, do so as long as you’re, you know, still very conscious of saving your own time and money. It’s your choice what you eat in cook for your family. Another thing I like to factor into my meal plans is some flexible days, days where I won’t plan ahead or days where I just want to wing it. So that might be, um, a Friday night or a Saturday or a Sunday. If I know that we’re away or you know, we, we don’t want to, I don’t want to cook meals that are going to be wasted. I want us to have the flexibility to have the odd treat or take out or meal with friends or just know that we can do something different. Um, so you don’t have to be really rigid when you’re meal planning.

That’s a real myth as well. I’ve spoken to you about the benefits of meal planning, but I’ll just reiterate again, the two biggest things for me and that’s the fact that it saves me so much time and so much time because I know exactly what I’m going to be making in advance. That just takes a lot of stress and anxiety and time wasting away from me. And it also saves money and the amount of money that I’ve saved, I wish I tracked it from the beginning because on the weeks that I meal plan, I don’t waste any food. I don’t waste money. I don’t have, you know, food going off in the fridge that hasn’t been eaten. I only shop for the ingredients that I need. So I’m not tempted to buy any extras. I used to be really in the habit of, you know, buying ‘just in case’ ingredients.

Just in case I make this, I’ll just in case I make that I would never make it. I just had a fridge full of things that wouldn’t be used. Um, so they’re the two biggest pros for me and just that sense of, I don’t know, less panic, less anxiety, less panic. That’s awesome. So I hope that’s eliminated some of the myths about meal planning and just broken down a little bit more what meal planning is, how it might benefit you and your family and um, yeah, the pros that you might experience from it as well. And I wanted to let you know that this episode is sponsored by my brand new course on meal planning obviously, which I’m really excited about. It’s called How to Meal Plan and you can find out more at love for men slash meal plan, but the course breaks down in a lot more detail for you to really clarify exactly what meal planning is, when you can meal plan and how to do it.

I’m going to be giving you all of the tools that you need to started and get on track so that you know how to create your own meal plan that will work, create a shopping list. I’m going to give you some really easy meal ideas as well on some of our family favorites and some sample menu plans too so that if you really are struggling for inspiration and that’s going to help you as well. And then I’ve got lots of more bonuses in the course of how you can save even more time and money too. And I’m really excited about sharing this with you because it’s had a really big impact on my life and I know that it really well for you as well. So if you have any questions at all on meal planning, please feel free to contact me.

Let me know if you meal plan and if you have any questions?

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I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land I work and live on, the Awabakal peoples, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I thank them wholeheartedly and express my love and gratitude for the privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world and for the opportunity for my family to be part of this vibrant and supportive community.

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