">
ISIC Australia

Living out of home for the first time? Plan your meals! | ISIC Australia

Eating healthy and cheap food can be a chore, especially if you are trying to decide what to eat, then making meals from scratch every day. It’s even harder if you are moving to Australia to study and live away from home for the first time! This is why meal planning is becoming increasingly popular. This is a term that is thrown around a lot, but what actually is it?

ISIC 2

Eating healthy and cheap food can be a chore, especially if you are trying to decide what to eat, then making meals from scratch every day. It’s even harder if you are moving to Australia to study and live away from home for the first time! This is why meal planning is becoming increasingly popular. This is a term that is thrown around a lot, but what actually is it?

Meal planning is essentially organising yourself to cook meals in order to pursue a healthier lifestyle and eat more cheaply; this process can be as simple or as in depth as you like. However, many people are intimidated by the concept, especially when you first leave home, so here is a simple guide to meal planning.

Look for Inspiration

Before you can begin a meal plan, you first need to know what to cook for the week. The thought of planning every single meal for the week can be daunting, so the best way to get over this is by getting inspired.

Instead of sitting in your kitchen racking your brain for ideas, look online and find some meals that are appealing to you – preferably with ingredients that don’t cost too much! Give yourself plenty of time to do this, so you can enjoy the process of looking through blogs and cookbooks.

Don’t be afraid to get out the sticky notes and mark pages in your favourite cookbooks so that you can find quick meal inspiration. Making the process of meal planning interesting and exciting will help you stay motivated to not only create your plan each week, but to follow through and eat the meals you have prepared. It is important to remember that it is your meal plan, so choose dishes that you will enjoy and will look forward to eating throughout the week.

Make Your Own Cookbook

There are millions of delicious meals out there, but only seven days in a week; this means that you will probably have lots of meals that you want to try but can’t fit into the one week. After spending so long finding dishes you like the idea of, it would be a complete waste to forget about them. You will probably also find that your new Australian neighbours will have some great ideas for meals to try.

To prevent this, create your own personal cookbook. Give yourself a set space to write down any potential recipes so you have something to try at a later date. Keeping all recipes in one place will also make it much easier for you in the future if you find yourself lacking inspiration. How and where you store your recipes is completely up to you.

Pinterest is a popular online option that will allow you to ‘pin’ any ideas you come across while scrolling. However, let’s not forget the old fashioned method of writing recipes in a notebook. This process is all about what works best for you, but making it a fun and exciting task will take some of the monotony away from the whole process and help you enjoy your university life.

Decide What You Want to Eat for the Week

Once you have browsed online and written down a few meals that appeal to you, it is important to choose a few to eat throughout the week. A great way of doing this is by creating a spreadsheet or calendar in which you can write down what you will eat each day, as well as your food budget. You should also remember that if you cook a meal in bulk you can get more than one lunch or dinner out of it!

This will allow you to see exactly what you are eating and prevent you from having to look through your personal recipe archives for an idea every day. Another benefit of writing down what you want to eat per day is that it creates some organisation and structure to your meal plan. 

This will also allow you to see exactly what ingredients you will need for the week and therefore will help you create an accurate shopping list. You can easily make your own calendar or download one  from various blogs and online forums.

Shop According to Your Meal Plan

When it comes to grocery shopping, going without a list, or an idea of what you want to buy is the worst idea.  Many people make the mistake of grocery shopping, and then cooking throughout the week based on what items they have in the house. However, this is the opposite of what you should be doing.

Instead, create a list before you go to the shop, based on what you have decided you would like to eat for the week. Essentially, get the ingredients you need to make the dishes you want to eat. This will give you plenty of structure and prevent you from getting side tracked in the shop and buying items that you don’t need, which saves money in the long run.

Only buying the essentials and the ingredients you need for your meal plan will ensure that you stick to your set plan and budget, and don’t begin making other meals instead of what you decided on. However, if you are still struggling to create a shopping list, there are numerous healthy shopping lists online that can give you a bit of extra help.

Meal Prep Once a Week

This is something that you have probably heard a million times (especially from Mum), but meal prep is really important. Choose one day a week that suits you and set aside some time to prepare your dishes for the week; many people opt to do this as soon as they get back from the shops. Although this may seem like a chore, it will actually save you time throughout the week.

Instead of getting home after work and having to cook a meal, meal prep allows you to get home, pull your dish out of the fridge or freezer and be ready to go. The thought of making seven meals in one go is worse than the actual act. You will find that when you do everything at once, you actually save time.

The main thing to remember when it comes to preparation is that at first it may feel bizarre, but it will soon become a habit and you will do it without even thinking about it.

This article was written by guest contributor Rebecca DiCioccio for ISIC

Back to overview
Share this article
Topic:
Student life
Tags:
food , healthy eating , meal planning , meal prep

Other articles on the topic Student life


11 ISIC Discounts Perfect For Teachers In Australia | ISIC Australia

3 Things You Need To Know About Uni Life In Australia | ISIC Australia