My name is Geethu. Today’s topic is about Meal Planning.
What is Meal Planning?
What are the benefits of Meal Planning?
Isn’t it enough to cook food daily? Why plan for it?
I’ll be answering all these questions in today’s video.
Also, I’ll be talking about how to start Meal Planning
How I started Meal Planning
and some Bonus tips for Working Ladies
These are the topics for today.
Before getting into actual Meal Planning,
Lets discuss about its benefits
Usually what do we do everyday
we see what we have in our kitchen and
make our cooking plans accordingly. Then the problem is we might not have all the ingredients for the recipe we have in our mind
or we might get stressed thinking what to cook with the stuff we have in stock.
Now lets consider the situation of working ladies
They reach home tired after tackling lot of stress in office
Then the next tension starts
What to cook for dinner? What to cook for next day’s lunch?
Isn’t this an ongoing problem?
Then the chances of us
going for easy and unhealthy options like
Hotel food or Junk food increases.
This is where Meal Planning is going to help us the most.
If we set a meal plan for lets say a few days or 1 week,
we’ll remain stress free
because we know what food to prepare
Next Benefit is “Variety of Food”
There must be a few favorite recipes
which we used to cook regularly before
but now due to some reason, forgot about those
and don’t cook them anymore.
As a result of Meal Planning,
we’ll be able to recall those recipes
and include them in our diet again.
When I started Meal Planning, it was an inspiration for me
to try out new recipes
and different cusines.
I am very sure and I really hope when you guys start Meal Planning,
you will also get hugely inspired by it
and your family will love the food you cook.
The most important benefit of Meal Planning is Time Saving
The time that we waste in thinking about what to cook
can be saved and best utilized in indulging in our hobbies
or spending time with our kids and family
This is my favorite benefit of all.
Now lets see how we can start Meal Planning.
Lets take a book or a diary.
Lets start by listing down all the
vegetables, fruits, pulses etc which
our family usually consumes.
basically everything our family consumes.
I have a complete master list of my own
I am prepare this list for demonstration purpose. I’ll show you my list in some time
I have divided my master list into different categories.
Vegetables in 1 category
Leafy vegetables in another category
Onion in another category. Then flakes and cereals
in one category,
grains and flours in one,
Pulses in one and lentils in another
Making these categories and grouping them are completely up-to us
and we can do it according to our requirement
This is a master list and will need a bit time to prepare
but we can use this list for our life.
Make sure to leave some writing space below or beside
each category so that as we keep
adding more varieties to our diet, we can
keep updating the list accordingly.
So the 1st list we prepared has everything
needed to cook the food our family
We need to prepare a 2nd list for Breakfast options, Lunch options
and Dinner options
Write down all the options our family generally eats.
In my house, what we usually do is,
we consume the same food for breakfast and dinner.
The dinner which we prepare tonight
will be tomorrow’s breakfast.
So that’s why i have made a single list for Breakfast and Dinner.
How I’ve made my list is
I’ve written the main dish and
added all the side dishes we eat along with it.
This list is prepared according to the way
I am comfortable so that its easier for me to plan my meals.
When you guys make your list, you can do it according to
your requirement. You can maybe categorize all the
main dishes under one category and the side dishes
under another category or in any other way you like.
So make this list and do not forget
to leave extra space to add more recipes.
Next are Lunch options.
Lunch, as for me is the easiest
meal of the day to plan compared to breakfast and dinner
So I have not prepared a detailed list.
This is only a general list with a few main categories.
Plain rice, Ghee rice etc under Rice category
Under Veg side dishes category, I’ve added veg stir fry etc
in general. I’ve not
gone in detail with this list either
The categories in Non-veg are Fish and meat
Also, like with every other list I prepared,
I’ve left a page
on the right side
so that if i need to update my list in future
or add more recipes,
I’ll be able to add easily
similarly we can prepare a list for evening snacks
for those who prepare
fresh evening snacks
everyday, this list will be very much helpful.
Next what we are going to do is make a
plan for a few days or 1 week.
For that all we need is a
paper or like me, we can take a book as well.
Now, before we sit down to make the plan,
we need to check our refrigerator vegetable box
to see what all we have leftover
from the previous week.
This will help us plan meals for this week
which includes these vegetables rather than making a plan
with entirely different vegetables.
Now, we need to draw a table
with columns for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
and as for the rows, make enough rows for the days we want to plan
If we are planning for the whole
week, we can make 7 rows
for all the days of the week.
What i usually do is
I take the center paper
of the book which has 4 pages and
which is easy to take out.
Why I take this
because, i take out that page
and stick it on my fridge using magnets
since i get 4 pages at a time,
I’ll be able to plan
for 4 weeks in that
one sheet itself
that is my one month planning
will be in one place.
so when i am planning for the second week,
I can go back to the 1st week and see
what recipes I included in my
so, the chances of a
recipe getting repeated reduces.
If we want to make the list
more attractive, we can use color pens or
highlighters for the same.
I am doing this to show you guys.
I don’t do like this usually
This takes lot of time and effort
the purpose of meal planning itself is to save time
For me, this activity need more time, so I don’t do it
You can highlight those items which need
soaking before cooking
like chick peas, green grams etc,
so that its easily visible.
In Meal Planning, there is no right method or wrong method, we can follow whatever suits us and our routine
There are people who plan for 1 whole month
I’ve tried that, but that didn’t work for me.
I have found Weekly planning as the most suitable option for me.
Now this is my complete meal plan for the current week.
Always do Meal Planning at least 1 day prior to
grocery shopping. The benefit is that
when we go for grocery shopping,
we won’t buy extra grocery and neither will we buy
unnecessary stuffs because we know what we are going to eat
this week and what vegetables are needed for that.
Also, we’ll not over stuff our fridge as well
since we have a plan, we know exactly what we should buy.
Meal Planning is very crucial in providing us
and our family a balanced diet.
Next, lets see how to make a meal plan interesting,
1st tip is to have meal theme. You can see a few themes here like
North Indian, South India, Soy etc
Let’s suppose, we are taking a North Indian Theme,
we can prepare North Indian breakfast, lunch and dinner that day.
It’ll be something different for our family
If we are selecting Salad night and we are going
for 2 salad nights in a week, we can experiment
with 2 kinds of salad, one maybe a chicken salad and the
other a veg salad.
These kinds of recipes are not only
healthy for our family, but they are
very tasty and will be refreshing since its different from the usual recipes.
I would like to add something here,
which is, if possible try
to have at least 1 complete vegetarian day
in a week. This is because, nowadays especially our kids
are crazy about non-veg, especially chicken.
Its very difficult for them to
have a meal without
a non vegetarian side dish.
If we make them practice from a young age itself
to have a pure veg meal, it’ll be beneficial
for them and also, healthy for us.
Next tip is
to discuss with our family
what they want to eat this week
what their favourite dish is this week
and include them in our meal plan.
Not only that, we can name the day we are planning
to cook their meals, after them. For eg.
the we cook our husband’s favourite dish, we can name it Husband’s Day
if its our kid’s meal,
we can name it after our kids
like in my case, i would name it as Madhav’s day.
This will get them excited and they’ll look forward to those meals.
We can archive our special recipes
and previous meal plans in a single file
It’ll help us immensely in our
future meal planning
YouTube recipes can be saved under
dedicated playlists in YouTube itself.
Next are some bonus tips for working ladies.
the major issue they face is they don’t get time to plan meals.
When I was doing a day job,
I used to plan while travelling
while walking to office
when taking a break in office
when watching my favorite TV shows etc
Because of this I never
had to take much effort or keep aside a dedicated time for this
Coming back to tips, 1st tip is
to always plan for leftovers
for eg., we plan to prepare Sambar on day 1.
We know that we cannot make sambar for 1 day since the quantity will be more
however hard we try. it’ll last
atleast for 2 days.
so on day 1 if we are planning Dosa as the main dish,
we can plan Idli as the main dish
for the second day so that
we don’t feel a repetition and don’t get bored.
Next tip is to have some easy meal recipes
up our sleeve.
Easy meals means, those which we can prepare
in a jiffy. My easy meals were, pasta,
spaghetti, noodles, overnight oats,
masala oats etc etc
The advantage of having them is that
we know for sure that we’ll be tired
towards the end of the week and we’ll not be in a position
to try complex recipes.
These meals will help us cook really fast
without investing much effort.
Also it’ll be healthy and filling.
Next is my most favourite working ladies tip
I’ve suggested this to many of my friends and
they were able to follow this quite successfully
So I am very sure, if you guys try it out,
it’ll workout well for you as well.
I call it “Cook one meal a day” policy.
If you consider the list on the screen, Thoran and chicken is the lunch meal
for Sunday, which I’ll be cooking Saturday evening.
and i’ll be cooking it for 2 days straight
that is, for Sunday and Monday
Now, dinner for Monday is Appam and Peas curry
this also I’ll cook for
2 days straight, for Monday and Tuesday.
This means, I am cooking only one meal per day
Now you might ask me, “what about breakfast”
I’ve included a few healthy options in the video.
I’ll be doing a separate video on meal preparation
which will have more information on this
so stay tuned for that 🙂
As I said before working ladies can do meal planning
on the go. These are some of the applications
which i found on play store which might
We can filter according to our needs and requirements.
if we are following detox diet, we can use
that kind of applications
if we are following vegetarian diet, there are applications for that.
So with the help of these applications
we can plan on the go, while walking
or travelling etc.
before planning on the go
It’ll be helpful if we click a
picture of our vegetable box.
Other than applications, we can use
free downloadable excel sheets like this in our mobile and plan.
This is not only applicable for working ladies but also
house wives, work from home moms. Anyone can
use these systems for Meal Planning.
So I hope you guys like this video
If you did, please click that like button down below.
Please share with me your meal planning tips and tricks
through the comments section below.
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please do share it with your friends and family.