By Ana Margarita Olar │ Foodfindsasia.com
When I was younger, I used to have a list or a plan for everything like daily plan, monthly goals, and I even list the things that I spent with my allowance . Now that I am married, working, and with two kids, I still plan for everything especially our meals. Here is my dose of easy meal planning for busy people:
Consider the food preference of your family.
You will be preparing a meal for your family. So ideally, you should include your family when doing your meal planning. Ask what foods they would like to eat for the week. Even if you are a working mom or a house buddy, it will be a waste of time, money, and effort if you have prepared a meal and nobody wants to eat it. So it is wise to consult the people you’re cooking for.
Consider your budget.
Meal planning also involves budgeting. It is a bit tricky when you ask your family members about their food preference and trying to meet your weekly budget. One tip is to replace expensive ingredients on your list with cheaper ones. You can also try to make your own vegetable garden. It takes an extra effort, but you’ll enjoy fresh vegetables with no cost.
Consider the preparation time for each menu.
If you think you are too busy to prepare a decent meal, then you must learn to budget not only your finances but also your time. Make a side note, if an ingredient needs to be pre-cooked, boiled, marinated, chilled, defrosted, so that you can prepare it ahead of time when you’re not busy. This simple side note, will save you from kitchen disasters brought about by hurried cooking: meat or fish that’s burned outside, but still raw on the inside, or meat that’s still hard as a rubber on your stew.
Consider your time for shopping.
Going to the market several times in a week could be exhausting. So if you are loaded on your schedule, why not try to shop for a week’s meal? Freeze your meat and keep your vegetables in the crisper so that it can last for a week.
Consider transforming your leftover food and re-using leftover ingredients
Meal planning saves your time but it can also save you from wasting away food and ingredients. For example, we often have leftover pork from our pork stew, as my daughters prefer only the vegetables. Also, we have leftover kangkong stems (only kangkong tops are used for the stew). Chop the kangkong stems and sauté it with pork, add soy sauce, sugar, a little vinegar, salt and pepper, and voila! We have pork and veggie adobo for our dinner.
As you are trying to serve delicious meals despite being busy, one thing is important is that you have to consider the nutritional value of the food that you will serve. Make every effort so that you can have quality meal time with your family despite having a very busy day.