INSIDE: You might know what you want to cook over the Christmas break but what about the days leading up to and after? Make life easier during this busy holiday season by creating a 21-day meal plan for before and after Christmas. And in today’s challenge, I show you how!
A 21-day Christmas meal plan…
It’s the week before Christmas and you’ve just got in after a long and busy day. You’ve done the last bits of your Christmas shopping, picked up the kids from school and stashed the remaining gifts in your wardrobe ready to be wrapped later. It’s time for dinner and the kids – and you – are starving. But instead of worrying about what you’re going to cook, you know exactly what to rustle up. How?
Because you have the 21-day meal plan you created in today’s challenge!
That’s right, today we’re going to make life easier by creating a meal plan for before and after Christmas. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
Challenge #25: Create a 21-day meal plan for before and after Christmas…
Creating a pre and post-Christmas meal plan…
It might seem like an unnecessary step to plan in advance what you’re going to cook each night in the days leading up to Christmas, but trust me, it’s totally worth it! I’ve been doing this for the last two or three years now and it makes home life SO much easier. When I’m trying to plan all things Christmas and work out what else I have to do, the last thing I want is to worry about what I need to make for dinner too.
Having a plan and knowing what I’m going to cook really does relieve some of the pre-Christmas stress! And I know it can do the same for you too…which is why I’ve included creating a 21-day meal plan as a challenge in this series!
Making your 21-day meal plan work…
Your pre and post-Christmas meal plan doesn’t have to be anything complicated. The key to making your 21-day meal plan work is to keep things simple. Remember, the idea of having a meal plan for the days leading up to and after Christmas is to make your life easy! And so, here are my top tips for keeping things simple.
Keeping your 21-day meal plan simple…
#1. | Choose meals that are quick and easy
Life in the run-up to Christmas is hectic enough as it is. Keep life simple and make things easy on yourself by cooking meals that are quick and easy to make. Save the more complicated dinners with lots of ingredients for when you have more time.
You have the rest of the year to experiment in the kitchen and try dishes you haven’t made before. So during this busy season, be kind to yourself. Give yourself one thing less to worry about and choose meals you know you can knock up in a matter of minutes with minimal stress and fuss.
Not sure which meals fall into this category?
Ask yourself which dinners are easy to prepare, liked by the whole family and work well-mid week. These are your go-to meals and the meals you want to cook in the run-up to Christmas. Opt to cook as many of these dishes as possible and it’ll make things so much easier. It’s a simple thing but it really does make all the difference!
Need a few ideas? Here are the meals that always go down well in our household that would work great in a 21-day meal plan too:
- Spaghetti Bolognese.
- Chilli con Carne.
- Sausage and tomato pasta bake.
- Shepherd’s pie.
- Meatballs in tomato sauce with rice.
- Sweet and sour chicken.
- Chicken fajitas.
- Fish tacos.
What meals are quick and easy to prepare for you? Which will you add to your 21-day meal plan?
#2. | Use your slow cooker
When it comes to making quick and easy weeknight meals, there’s one piece of kitchen equipment I can’t live without. Especially in the winter season. What is it? My slow cooker! Being able to throw a few ingredients into it first thing in the morning and having a yummy dinner with minimal effort ready in the evening is hard to beat. Especially if all that’s left to do is cook some pasta, rice or mash!
Use your slow cooker to your advantage this holiday season. Pop in a whole chicken, a pork shoulder or ingredients for a loaf of bread first thing. Go about your day, get your Christmas shopping done, take your kids to see Santa and when you get home, there’s no need to think about dinner. It’s bubbling away and ready to eat – and it smells great too!
If you’re going to create a 21-day meal plan for before and after Christmas, make life easier by adding a few crockpot meals to your list. And if you want a few ideas of what to include in your 21-day meal plan, check out my Meal Planning board on Pinterest. You’ll find a whole section dedicated to easy crockpot recipes. With more than 70 slow-cooked dinners, you’re guaranteed to find something that’ll please the whole family!
#3. | Use your pressure cooker
Having only very recently purchased a pressure cooker, I have to admit I found it a little daunting at first. But it’s fast becoming one of my favourite kitchen gadets. Owning one of these means you’re able to cook all kinds of things incredibly fast. Which is perfect for those busy weeknights! The best part too is that although it’s cooked quickly, the food retains all of it’s taste and flavour.
If you have a pressure cooker I highly suggest bringing it out to play during the holiday season. You could even use it Christmas Day! Don’t yet have one? Definitely consider getting one. Trust me when I say it’s money well worth spent!
Want ideas of which pressure cooker meals to include in your 21-day meal plan for before and after Christmas? Check out my Recipes board on Pinterest. You’ll find a whole section dedictated to pressure cookers packed full of ideas to get you started!
#4. | Batch cook your meals.
Another great way to keep your 21-day meal plan simple is to batch cook your meals and freeze them for later. One way to do this is to spend a day a couple of weeks before Christmas batch freezer-prepping a few meals. The other is to spend a couple of weeks cooking double what you need and freezing the rest.
Both have their pros and cons but are incredibly helpful when it comes to keeping your 21-day meal plan simple and stress-free. I’ll be sharing more on this in a challenge later in the week, so be sure to keep an eye out!
Making your 21-day meal plan a reality…
Now you have a few ideas of what to cook, it’s time to put your 21-day Christmas meal plan together! Here’s how:
- List the dates for the two weeks before Christmas and the week after on a sheet of paper. If you prefer, print a blank calendar so that you can see each week at a glance.
- Look at your diary to see what you have on when.
- Use your list of go-to meals to pick dishes to cook and assign them to a day.
- For days where you’re tight for time, pick meals you can make in your slow cooker or instant pot.
- Check your freezer and pantry and add any ingredients you need to your shopping list.
- Keep your meal plan somewhere safe so that you know what to cook when.
- Refer to your meal plan at the beginning of each week so that you can make sure you have all you need.
That’s it for today!
I’ll be back tomorrow with challenge #26 of 30 Days to a Stress-Free Christmas challenge. In the meantime, have fun creating your 21 day meal plan for before and after Christmas! Be sure to check out the rest of the posts for this challenge if you haven’t done so already too!
- Day 1: Let’s Get Your Christmas Planning Started!
- Day 2: What Gifts to Buy?
- Day 3: Get Organised for Christmas.
- Day 4: Write Out Your Christmas Budget.
- Day 5: Take a Break and Have a Well-Earned Rest!
- Day 6: Declutter Your Child’s Bedroom.
- Day 7: Winter Prep Your House and Car.
- Day 8: Start a Packing List.
- Day 9: Do Your Christmas Decorations on a Budget.
- Day 10: Spend Money on Experiences Instead of Things.
- Day 11: Finalise Your Christmas Gift List.
- Day 12: Take a Break and Have a Well-Earned Rest!
- Day 13: Create a Stockpile of Last-Minute Christmas Gifts.
- Day 14: Decide Whether You’ll Send Christmas Cards.
- Day 15: Start Your Christmas Shopping Early.
- Day 16: Wrap Your Christmas Presents as You Go
- Day 17: Ask What Christmas Means to You
- Day 18: Plan a Family Christmas
- Day 19: It’s Time to Relax!
- Day 20: Write Your Christmas Bucket List
- Day 21: What are Your Christmas Family Traditions?
- Day 22: Make Time for You
- Day 23: Take the Time to Relax Before Bed
- Day 24: Decide What to Eat on Christmas Day
That’s it for this post! What will you include in your 21-day meal plan for before and after Christmas? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
P.S. Get all of the Christmas challenges by email!
Want a little more accountability? Don’t forget that you can sign up to receive each challenge by email! Every day for the next 30 days I’ll land in your inbox with the next Christmas challenge. A great way to remind you to take action, you’ll also receive my FREE Ultimate Christmas Planning Checklist too!
In it, you’ll find checklists for your Christmas budget, Christmas shopping, meal planning and prepping, family traditions, planning your travel and so much more. With every Christmas planning step you can possibly think of listed, no stone will be left unturned and nothing will be forgotten!
Simply enter your email address below and I’ll send it to you right away along with the first challenge!