Over the past few weeks, meal planning has been a lot more prevalent in our house. Previously I only cooked 3 times a week for the whole family as they usually eat earlier than I’m back from work, either at the farm or at after school club. So meal planning was easy just sorting myself out or at the weekends.
Since lockdown (and prior to that when I was working from home), it means I’m now cooking 7 days week as well as lunches. Added to that, food shortages mean adapting to what food is in the fridge at the time. And the fact I’m still want to stick to my keto diet where possible. Not easy when carbs are a staple in this family like so many others.
Carbs for us are needed. The OH has a physical job and needs fuel to kep going – there’s only so much meat and veg you can eat. Plus carbs provide variety as well as lunch, which is pretty much always a sandwich. Carbs are cheap and a good balance for the males in the house. N is a growing boy and while he’s not that fuss, he wouldn’t eat some of the keto alternatives I make (actually, I think N would eat more of them than the OH would).
I aim to make meals with the same based, then adapt to a keto meal plan with alternatives to remove the carbs for me. Other times I’ll end up cooking something else for me, especially at lunch. Keto bread isn’t my favourite, although I do like fathead dough which can be made into pretzels or bagels.
The way I meal plan is still quite casual. I would eat chicken every day for the speed, versatility and health aspects, but I wouldn’t get away with cooking it that frequently. I try and vary the meat or fish cooked across the week. We might do leftovers on the second night, or need to finish an open pack, but generally mixing up the protein base works well.
We’re all fussy in different ways in our house. I’m obviously low carb and I’m not a fan of fish. The OH is mostly a meat and veg type but gets bored when meals are repeated too frequently. N will have a moan about some food but will usually still eat it. So it’s a challenge to buy food that all of us will eat.
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I hate thinking about recipes to cook each day. I don’t mind following a recipe and like to try new things from various recipe books*, but it’s a hassle and I get annoyed when you make a lot of effort to cook and then someone moans about it. Especially when I’m trying to still work full days and dinner needs to be on the table at 5.
So I’m hoping that keeping track of a meal plan means I’ll be able to go back and check ideas we’ve not cooked for a while. And get a better idea of what meals have been a success. Of course there are failures along the way (my slow cooker giant cookie which was like concrete).
Here’s our meal plan for the last 3 weeks of lockdown, and the alternatives I’ve cooked for myself following a keto low carb diet. Where I don’t mention an alternative, I’ve just had it excluding the potatoes or other carbs.
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Week 1 meal plan
Sunday: roast chicken, potatoes and veg.
Monday: Beef and ale pie. Alternative omelette and salad
Tuesday: Pork steaks in mustard and cream sauce
Wednesday: Meatloaf with peas and boiled potato.
Thursday: macaroni cheese with pancetta and extra veg. Alternative cauliflower cheese with pancetta and veg
Friday: Creamy garlic chicken
Week 2 plan
Saturday: Cheese burgers in rolls, chips and salad. Keto alternative was burgers wrapped in lettuce, coleslaw and salad.
Sunday: Pulled pork, veg and potatoes. Crackling cooked separately
Monday: Spaghetti bolognese and garlic bread. Keto alternative was courgetti and bolognese. All with grated cheese
Tuesday: Lasagne from leftover bolognese. (I also ate lasagne because I forgot to keep some of the bolognese separate for me.
Wednesday: Pheasant and sausage pie (made by mother in law). Keto alternative cauliflower and meatball cheese gratin.
Thursday: leftovers from Wednesday.
Friday: Sausages and mash with beans. Alternative cauliflower ‘champ’ or mash with leeks and cabbages, peas.
Week 3 meal ideas
Saturday: Jamie Oliver’s chicken in milk, veg and potatoes (we had chicken breasts rather than a while chicken).
Sunday: Beef casserole, dumplings, potatoes and veg.
Monday: Baked salmon with butter and lemon, potatoes and veg. Alternative was chicken stir fry.
Tuesday: Bacon, egg and chips. Alternative was salad instead of chips.
Wednesday: Tomato, bacon and pepper lasagne. Alternative, same base filling with sliced courgettes as layers.
Thursday: Chicken fajitas. Alternative using lettuce as wraps.
Friday: Cod and salmon fish cake, homemade chips and peas. Alternative omelette and salad
Saturday: Sausage and veg traybake with potato and parsnip rosti
Sunday: Roast turkey, potatoes, cauliflower cheese, sausagemeat stuffing and veg.
I don’t do puddings usually apart from at weekends. Now that the weather is nicer, I tend to do lighter desserts like Eton Mess, pavlova, strawberries and cream, or sometimes an open berry pie.
Some of what I make going forwards will depend on what veg arrives in my next produce box I order, and what meat I have left in the freezer. As long as I’ve got eggs, salad, cheese and chicken I’m fixed for my diet. I just need to sort their meals out.
Read my other meal plan posts
I’ve linked this post up to the Meal Planning Linky over at Katy Kicker’s.
What kind of meals have you been cooking during lockdown?