This $15 trick will save you thousands
WHINGEY cries of: 'What's for dinner, Mum?' can be almost as exhausting as conjuring up weekday mealtime inspiration.
The monotony of tacos on Tuesday, Spag bol Saturdays and chicken and rice in between can be hard to stomach.
But not for these mums, who have used a cheap and cheerful Kmart hack to make menu boards for the week - giving children an answer to their question and parents a plan to prep for. And it's saving them hundreds of dollars.
"This is my first Kmart hack, and it took me an hour and cost me $15," said Sydney mum Jill Burrows.
"I got the idea from Pinterest and it's important for me that we have home-cooked meals planned ahead, and it's working.
"It's changing my life for the better because I can cook meals on the weekend in advance and it reduces costs in shopping from the improved planning, so it helps our budget."
The 49-year-old teacher's aide from Quakers Hill has always been organised and used pegs and coloured slips of paper to create her board.
"I used to do menu planning on paper on a Saturday morning while my son was at swimming squad training but I got tired of trying to think of new meals each week, so I got lazy with meal planning then found I was stressing out about meals," she said.
"We were spending more money and not eating as well, and eating a lot of ready made meals.
"I just wrote down all the meals I could think of that I can cook easily - chicken stir fry, Thai chicken meatballs, salmon, fish and chips or Chinese dumplings and lots of others - and I have a card for new recipes then if they are any good I will add new cards.
"My husband and son also pick meals and want to help."
Queensland mother-of-two Sarah Burr also created a meal prep board after admiring a friend's - and hasn't looked back.
"It took me less than an hour to make and roughly $25 - and it helps me feel organised in at least one area of my chaotic life," she told news.com.au
"Trying to make meals that the hubby and the children all like is a challenge so I let them pick a few meals each so they at least have some say in their food and if they don't like one of the meals I make, they know that they have one of their favourites is coming up so they seem to 'suck it up' and suffer through the kale Caesar," the 32-year-old laughed.
"I am definitely saving money and I feel much more organised.
"Because I know what ingredients I need on each day, I know what vegies are excess so I am finding myself cutting up more fruit and vegies for us all to snack on, rather than reaching for the heavily processed, packaged stuff."
Byron Bay cookbook author Magdalena Roze, a mum to two-year-old Archie, also uses meal planning to spell out her week of meals.
"Having an idea of some of the family dinners for the week takes the stress out of cooking," she said.
"Some days can be really exhausting and the last thing you want to think about is: 'What's for dinner?' - so knowing what to make and having the ingredients on hand makes it more achievable and saves you from having to hit the shops at the last minute.
"You can save lots of time and money re-purposing leftovers too.
"Extra bolognaise mince can be used for tacos the next day by adding some beans and chilli when you reheat it, or frozen for another week.
"A lamb stew one night can be used as a filling for pies just by adding some filo on top."