Today I have a little confession for you…
Even though I write cook books, have two food blogs and have an online cooking school, I didn’t start out being a confident cook.
And I certainly wasn’t good at meal planning…
When I first got into cooking I was in my early 20s, living in Sydney, working in my first job as a Food Scientist developing new snack products for Kellogg.
I used to spend hours pouring over magazines and cookbooks deciding what to make and compiling lengthy shopping lists.
Then I’d head off all over town. To my favourite veggie shop or the farmers market. To my butcher, the deli, sometimes to Chinatown and a stop at the supermarket for staples.
It took hours.
While I enjoyed these excursions, they weren’t without their frustrations.
There would often be one or two ingredients that were sold out or I just couldn’t find. Since I didn’t have a clue about ingredient substitution, I’d have to go to multiple stores trying to find what I was missing.
It took a lot of time.
It also cost a lot of money.
Slowly, over the years, I got better at the whole process. As my cooking confidence grew, I started knowing which ingredients I could skip or substitute. My food bills came down and my ingredient waste decreased.
The biggest game changer came when I was living in the beautiful Barossa Valley, Australia’s equivalent of Napa.
As a young wine maker, most of my waking hours were spent in the winery. I no longer had time to plan my meals in advance or much time for cooking.
The highlight of my week was the Saturday morning Barossa farmers market.
I’d grab a coffee. Then I’d wander around tasting, chatting to the farmers and buying whatever took my fancy. I wouldn’t have had time to make a list so I’d just buy what looked good.
When I got home, I’d figure out what to cook based on my market bounty.
Sometimes I’d consult my cookbooks. But often I’d just make things up. I started really cooking from the heart and cooking with the seasons.
It was incredibly liberating.
And better yet, I was able to feed myself really delicious, healthy meals that took a fraction of the time.
I came to realize that just as we can all learn to cook with a recipe, we can also learn to cook without them.
It’s easier than you think, if you have the right guidance. I’ll be going into much more detail on how you to can become someone who cooks without recipes the week after next.
But now it’s time to talk about the biggest mistake most people make when it comes to meal planning…
What is the most common meal planning mistake?
Basically, it’s following the traditional meal planning method.
You know, deciding what to cook in advance and then building your shopping list around that plan.
This approach causes problems for many reasons:
First, it takes a lot of time to plan in advance. Trawling through recipes and writing detailed shopping lists.
2. Lack of Freedom
Having a set list means you aren’t free to choose what looks best (or cheapest!) when you’re shopping.
3. Lack of Flexibility
They also lack the flexibility to cope with the changes that naturally come up with modern life.
How do you avoid this mistake?
You just need to learn how to ‘reverse’ the process.
It may sound scary, but in practice it’s a liberating approach to meal planning. And it’s actually much quicker and easier than traditional meal plans.
I’ll be sharing you my Easy 3-Step Framework for avoiding this meal planning mistake next week. It’s all about how you can learn to shop first and then cook based on the ingredients you have in the house.
What it would be like if you didn’t have to plan ahead?
How would it impact your time? Your health? Your waistline? Your energy levels?
Imagine coming home after a long day and cooking dinners you truly enjoy without repeating the same dishes over and over.
Imagine not buying a bunch of ingredients that ultimately go to waste because your schedule changed.
Imagine revolutionizing how you cook and growing your kitchen confidence!
If you’re an experienced cook, imagine avoiding the trap of taking on weeknight meals which are too complicated for your schedule and energy levels at the end of a long day.
Imagine being able to listen to what your body needs, rather than what your meal plan says.
Imagine not following recipes to a ‘T’ anymore – being able to substitute ingredients based on what you have.
Imagine wasting far less food.
Imagine being able to look in fridge and pull together a healthy meal with ease.
Sound too good to be true?
This isn’t a crazy dream.
Next week I’ll show you how to turn these dreams into reality. I’m going to give you a clear, 3-step framework to help you stop making the biggest meal planning mistake and reverse your meal plan.
Before I go I’d like to share my vision with you…
I want to live in a world where eating healthy, home made food is the norm. Where most people are able to just walk into the kitchen and throw something delicious together.
Where cooking dinner is seen as a joy and a privilege not another chore at the end of a stressful day.
ps. I’d love to hear from you!
How would your life change if you were able to reverse YOUR meal plan? Let me know in the comments below.