How much time each week do you spend meal planning, creating shopping lists, doing the shopping, unpacking groceries, preparing the food, and then cleaning up afterwards?
In my quest to become more efficient and claim back my life, I knew this was a potential gold mine. But it wasn’t until I actually processed mapped and timed every step involved in feeding my family that I realized how much time I was throwing away – and how I could get a lot of that time back by being more disciplined and deliberate in my meal planning and grocery shopping.
Right now, I meal plan once a month, grocery shop once a month, do one major food prep of a couple of hours a week, and then on a daily basis am able to spend most of my evening enjoying my kids and doing something for myself. We’ve also created more friend and extended family time around meals, and are saving money through less food waste, buying bulk items and taking advantage of flyer specials.
In this series of posts, I’ll share just how I am saving a tonne of time and energy getting healthy and mostly delicious meals to the table.
The key principles are:
1) Meal planning – Once a month, for a month:
This is central to everything else. Initially it was onerous and painstakingly slow, but once I figured out a cycle to limit the items to choose from, it became much quicker. And as I make it a date for myself, also quite enjoyable. Having a monthly meal plan means you can take advantage of in season foods, flyer specials, have less food waste and avoid last minute rushing and stress in coming up with meals.
See the approach here.
2) Grocery shop once a month, for a month
This goes hand in hand with monthly meal planning and requires coordination with the next principle of freezer management. Only going to the grocery store once a month means only once a month am I driving there and back, standing in the check out, putting all the bags in the car, and then lugging all the bags out of the car, making room in the fridge and then putting all those groceries away. That’s a lot of steps! Especially if you are often dragging a couple of kids along with you. On average I’m getting back almost 6 hours of time for me by only making the trek once a month.
3) Get a deep freeze and use it effectively
Without my deep freeze, the whole approach would fall apart. It is what makes my once a month grocery shopping possible, and with complete meals ready to go, each week I get a few nights off from cooking. If you aren’t applying buy priligy priligy uk(choosing the right things to put in your freezer, knowing what’s in it, and being able to find it) you are likely wasting food and time, not to mention those frozen fingers.
4) Routinize, routinize, routinize
Recently there has been lots of articles and buy priligy priligy online uk over the course of the day – each decision or choice takes some of that capacity. This extends from really tough decisions, like how to restructure your company, to more mundane choices like whether to have oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast. One cornerstone of being more productive, has been to routinize or batch (as in monthly meal planning) these simpler choices, saving energy for the most important decisions.
If you can turn the simple activities and decisions you make around getting food on the table into habits you can reserve your energy for the big decisions in your life. Think about what routines you can put in place to simplify meal prep, meal time and clean-up.
5) Give yourself a night off
Not having to worry about getting food on the table a night or two a week can feel like a mini vacation. Give yourself permission to get take-out, serve something from freezer or even occasionally, straight from the package. And if you have someone who can share in the meal chores, or might even enjoy getting a meal ready for you, take advantage of that.
There are at least three nights a week and sometimes four, where I don’t have to worry about cooking, either because someone else is cooking for us, or I have something all ready to go.
6) Make the most of the time you are around the table with your family
This is the whole point isn’t it? We want to nourish our bodies, but also our souls with quality time together. In our house that means no work papers, computers or smartphones at the table, and for the kids, no toys. The focus is on the food and each other.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. I’d love to hear what you do to make feeding your family easier and enjoyable.