Why, at around the same time in the afternoon every damn day, does it always kind of come as a shock that food needs to be made so the kids can be fed? The answer to this relentless slog isn’t sexy, but it’s super simple: Make a weekly meal plan. Need more reasons beyond eliminating the 4 p.m. panic?
1. It saves you time
One weekly grocery shop, maybe a second for odds and ends. No daily trips to the store to prowl the aisles waiting for inspiration to strike. Plus, planning allows for prep time on the weekend, which makes weeknights less stressful: A soup, a batch of rice or a simple dressing puts you miles ahead when you walk in the door.
2. It saves you money
That thing you do, where you stalk the grocery aisles for ideas? It costs money as you impulsively fill your basket or get over-ambitious about what you think you might make.
3. It prevents food waste
Leftover pasta sauce goes on pizza later in the week. That tray of roasted veg is good for dinner and then in salads for lunch. Making a plan means accounting for everything you buy and keep in your pantry.
1 easy bolognese recipe, 3 yummy ways?
4. It makes for healthier meals
Deliberate dinner choices are always more nutritious than the ones you make in a mad rush.
5. It gives you creative freedom
Schedule the simplest meal for Monday (you’ll cry with gratitude); build a meal around a favourite ingredient; give every member of the family their own theme night; check the weather forecast—will you want a stew or something grilled? The week is anything you want it to be.
6. It’s actually fun when you have the right tool
There’s an amazing free app we designed just for this—to end the weeknight dinner madness—called Today’s Parent Meal Time. Download it and play: Get inspired on the home screen, which is curated with our most popular and seasonal recipes (we’ve got 6,000-plus); save your favourites and organize them into collections; use the template to create and save your own recipes (or URLs from other sites); and then slot everything into your weekly meal plan and send ingredients to your grocery list. These last two features are shareable, and share you should, as dinner (making and eating) is not a one-person job.