So, you’ve now made a fantastic meal plan that has the meals for the week on it so everyone can see what’s what. It works for a while, and then someones schedule alters, or something happens that means things just have to change. What do you do then? This post is all about how to deal with the unexpected…
Dealing with changes to plans can be exasperating, and as such I suggest a two pronged attack on ensuring those changes don’t affect things too much :-
#1 – Spot clashes before they happen
Firstly it’s really important to try and stop changes before they have to happen – and that means meal planning with your diary!
Each week I look at my master meal planner in my Home File and then do two things:-
Firstly I check my diary to see what the week ahead is going to bring in terms of any potential changes that would need to happen to the meals I would cook should I follow my meal plan.
I can then adapt the meal plan accordingly which can save stress as I’ve caught it before it’s an issue in the week (i.e. before I have bought the ingredients for a meal that no-one will be in to cook!)
Secondly, I write the meals for the week on the sheet in the kitchen cupboard so that the family can know what’s for food each day/evening.
As such, if I don’t know of any plans then people can (hopefully) let me know when they see the meal plan on the wall.
Basically it’s about a bit of extra planning up front to save time (and stress) later.
#2 – Be prepared for the unexpected
It’s all well and good me saying that planning will help, and it does help – to an extent!
There will always be times that you can’t prepare for what crops up in the day. An unexpected trip to the doctors, friends dropping by, someone being invited for tea somewhere etc….
As such, as much as you can meal plan, you have to be prepared to change things at a moments notice, and here are 2 ways to deal with things when they happen.
Firstly – try and simply swap meals around for that week so that you don’t waste any food already bought. Maybe a quick meal later in the week can replace the roast that you were going to cook tonight, for example.
Secondly – always have a backup meal in the freezer that can be bunged in the oven by anyone at home if the person who should have been cooking has been delayed etc….. You can also use a backup meal to bulk up your planned food if you have to suddenly cater for more people.
What I am saying really is that you can plan ahead of time for your usual schedule(s), and you can double check each week for any planned changes to those schedules, but life happens and things sometimes change – so you need to be able to roll with it to some extent.
If you meal plan, then whatever happens you should still be better off than if you hadn’t, as you will have food in, and can swap around meals more easily – the trick is to plan as much as you can and hold on tight for the week ahead!
Do you have a meal plan that you have to change often? How do you deal with it?
Want to know more about meal planning? Head HERE next…