Aug 20, 2019

How I do meal planning

A few days back, I posted a question on my Instagram Stories - 
"What do you find most challenging about home cooking on a daily basis?"

Nearly 90% of the responses were all related to this one important task - "Deciding what to cook". For years, I have faced this challenge. Every morning, I would open my fridge and wonder what to cook. I slowly shifted to planning at least the next day's breakfast and lunch before going to bed that night. That solved the problem for most part but then my daughter's school timing changed last year, due to which her after-school snacks has become an important meal to plan ahead. She comes home quite hungry and I need to make sure that I have prepared something ready for her.
 
Starting Jan this year, I was diligently planning a weekly menu every Sunday evening using pen and paper. This became such a game changer as it saved a lot of time from thinking about the dreaded question - "What to cook?". Then summer vacations came and I stopped writing down the meal plan. Once school reopened, I didn't write down a meal plan every week but I came up with a generic meal plan template. Weekday meals are mostly on autopilot and so this template has been quite helpful for me. 


  1. I usually grind idli batter on Monday nights. So my Tue breakfast is usually idli. And I usually pair it with a sambhar, which we would have it for lunch as well.
  2. I prefer to soak channa/rajma or other lentils over the weekend. So my Monday lunch is usually channa masala with phulkas / channa pulao.
  3. After-school snack menu is mostly decided by D. She is very strict about her pasta on Mondays and pancakes on Tuesdays 😉 
  4. I prefer to have paneer once a week and chapathis/phulkas twice a week. So that is taken care of in this template
  5. Usually, I either bake a cake or deep fry bajjis on Friday evenings. So we end up having a light soup for dinner on Fri nights.
  6. Weekend breakfast and lunch menus are usually like this - there will be pooris for breakfast and one medicinal lunch. I might swap the menus for Sat and Sun, depending on whether we are heading out for some errands.
  7. If I want to try a new dish, I usually try out during the weekends. ONLY tried and tested recipes during weekdays.
  8. I incorporate fruits and simple veg salads on a daily basis. So I don't write them down specifically.

I usually stick to this template 80-90% of the time and it is quite helpful for me to eat healthy and not slog in the kitchen for a long time. We eat out 1-2 times a week, mostly during weekends.

Please note that this is based on what my family likes to eat. I'm sharing these ideas so you can customize it based on how you seem fit according to your schedule, food preferences etc. There is enough scope for variety within this template. Hope you find this useful.

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