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Written by Fiona Greig on January 25th, 2018

THE END IS NIGH… KICK START TO TERM 1

The end is nigh… Kick start to Term 1

Insights from a mum of two primary school aged boys

It’s been nice knowing you summer school holidays. We’ve had a blast with lots of memories made. My boys have thrived in the various Hawke’s Bay camp sites and beaches visited, and you’ve really turned on the weather – thank you.

With routines lost, it’s going to be a bit of a challenge to get back into our rhythm next week…. Sensible bed times, packed lunches, and getting to the classroom on time. Challenge accepted. There was a vague New Year’s resolution made to be more organised this year, including meal planning – this is my chance to shine.

It can be a juggle to find meal ideas, that both fit within a budget and please the discerning taste buds of those you live with, especially young children who can be fussy. I get excited when I cook a new recipe, only to feel somewhat deflated if it’s been rejected by the kids. Yes, there are some tried and true favourites, but mixing it up in the kitchen keeps me enthused.

So, to keep things in perspective as we settle into the first term of the school year, let’s remind ourselves there are many perks to having at least a rough idea of what will be for dinner in the days ahead. This can help take the pressure off late afternoon/early evening, when you are suddenly struck with the question, “what’s for dinner”?

The Pros of Meal Planning

  • It helps to compile a grocery shopping list that will help keep the number of visits to the supermarket down, and likely less money spent over the long term (you know what it’s like when you pop in to the grocery store for just a couple of top up items).
  • It provides the opportunity to look where some cooking occasions can be reduced, such as cooking up extra mince and veges one night, to be used in a different dish the next evening and lunches.
  • If the ‘menu’ is on display, the household knows in advance what you are having for dinner. Son: “Muummmm” Me: “Look at the menu board”.
  • This could be a chance to share the load of cooking if there are people at home capable of helping out. Some of us need a recipe to follow, others don’t – find out what works for the potential cooks in your house.
  • It gives you an opportunity to check you and your household are getting some variety across the week. Planning out across the week means you can look at how many meals are including red meat for example, and if this aligns with nutrition recommendations.
  • It provides a structure to try a new recipe. This could be tweaking a favourite, such as substituting or adding some ingredients to bulk up a meal

Click here to check out how to make your meat go further, while saving some money and time along the way

Do you have any meal planning life hacks you can share? We would love to hear them.

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