I’ve Changed…I’ve Created a Meal Planner


I’d never thought about creating a meal planner before. However, during the summer holidays I’ve really been feeling the pressure of entertaining a four-year-old, five days a week along with twin toddlers. We’ve been going on play dates, outings and doing activities continuously. Maria and Gabriella are nearly two and are at the age where they want to go out every day otherwise they get cranky. The garden only seems to entertain for so long.

Dining al fresco with spinach risotto - a favourite.

Dining al fresco with spinach risotto – a favourite.

Also looming large is Sofia starting school. There’s been form-filling aplenty, a couple of meet ups with her future class mates (really nice idea by the way), a number of shopping trips for school uniform and labelling of said uniform.

Last month I wrote for TalkMum, WrigglyRascals and also contributed a #meetasahp post for Stay at Home Mummy. Then there’s this blog and I also started doing a freelance PR project. Then there was filming at our house when the BBC interviewed me about fitness to fly certificates in pregnancy. You can see it here (I didn’t know how much I frowned when talking!).

So with all that, along with the usual washing, cleaning, tidying etc, it’s been a busy time and my head has been spinning somewhat. I’d been waking up in the middle of the night and trying to think what meals I was going to make that day; probably as this was the only time I could devote any real thought to it. Having decided in the early hours I then had to go and shop for all the ingredients in the morning as, of course, I was missing most of them. I was actually doing about four sizeable shops a week. I needed to work smarter…

Enter the Meal Planner!

I can’t believe I have devised a meal planner, it sounds a bit sad and rather regimented, but I was getting totally fed up with being poorly prepared and spending way too much time at the supermarket checkout.

I took an hour out and devised a planner for August. I tried to keep it fairly healthy and varied, but there were some meals, which were more of a ‘treat’ included; some favourites that cropped up a couple of times within the month, and leftovers also featured. I kept the weekends free in the name of spontaneity! It worked really well so I created one for this month.

September’s meal planner:

Meal planner

It might be overstating it slightly to say it’s revolutionised my life, but it has made a massive difference. Of course there’s the odd tweak now and then to fit in with last minute plans, but the main thing is I’m not waking at obscure hours thinking about the day’s food and I’m not fussing about trying to cobble something together out of the ingredients I do have, and most importantly I have drastically reduced my supermarket visits. I have also cut down a lot on waste as I go to the shops and buy what I actually need.

I have changed, but being organised has actually made me chill out more. I’d highly recommend it!

* By the way, please feel free to share any family meal favourites as I’m always looking for inspiration…

Meal planner


About Author

I’m Francesca De Franco: graduate, wife, mother of three and, until recently, PR manager for world-leading financial website ADVFN. I cut my teeth in hi-tech PR for a global agency but found my affection lay in, in-house work; talking and writing about products and concepts that I really cared about. Following the birth of my twin daughters in September 2011 I decided that I would finish work after my maternity leave as childcare was too expensive for three. I am a blogger for http://www.talkmum.com and a PR gun for hire. My passion for communicating, writing, good food and fine dining, wine, Italy and Italian culture, investing and football remains the same, but I’m now also passionate about being a good mum whilst still being me.


  1. Pingback: September on TalkMum – work, life and finding a balance | TalkMum

  2. Pingback: Fuss-free food for children | The Parent Social

  3. Pingback: September on TalkMum – work, life and finding a balance | Pregnancy Health

  4. Pingback: Toddler eating habits - The Bristol Parent

  5. Pingback: Family Favourites – Pork, Chorizo and Cannellini Bean Stew | The Parent Social

Leave A Reply