With vaccination programs progressing at speed in the U.S, Europe, and other parts of the world more and more of us are looking forward to what the post-COVID-19 lifestyle will be. Even before the pandemic, progressive employers started to embrace the advantages of flexible working – and the change was thrust upon many more as a result of lock-downs.
Now that life is beginning to return to some normality as many as 50% of employers are suggesting they will continue with a hybrid approach to where/when employees work in the future. This new work arrangement will inevitably present a tough challenge for many families – keeping up with everyone’s daily schedules!
That includes how your grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking will be organized. We believe planning will become even more important to make sure that we are keeping on top of how much food we are purchasing and wasting with our new way of living.
Shane Jordan, chef and food education practitioner advises
Meal planning is very useful, especially for busy families. It can provide much-needed structure for planning daily or weekly meals, and save time and money. With the right planning, you can store food correctly and use up leftover ingredients for daily meals.
The problem with our traditional approach to meal planning is that it is no longer the right way of doing it. We end up buying more than we can prepare, preparing more than we are able to eat, and throwing away way more than we have anticipated throughout the whole process.
It is very much a long-term (7 or 14 days) “static” approach so if our plans change mid-week we end up with spoiled products. Or worse still – cooked meals, left languishing on the fridge shelves lonely and forgotten (after all the hard work has been put in). So now with all the many permutations of who is home and when the traditional way of meal planning could benefit from a 2021 update.
Think about these questions as you read along.
> Can you predict the number of family meals this week, considering home/office work schedules?>
> Are you being realistic about how much needs to be prepared after a long day at work/with the kids etc?
> Will everyone in your household be aware at all times of the printed(or digital) meal plan?
If you’ve given an honest “NO” answer don’t feel bad – just be realistic that you need a more flexible approach to meal planning. We need an approach that actually works for us and fits into our schedules, unpredictable change of plans, and fluctuation in cooking energy and enthusiasm.
How Does Flexible, Zero Waste Meal Planning Work?
By using a tech approach to plan your family meals you can start the week with a basic plan – but have the flexibility to move that around as necessary and share the plan with key members of your household to encourage their participation in the shopping and cooking.
It is workday afternoon.
You have time to think about this week’s meals. You need to go through the food you already have at home or check your cookbook collection for ideas. Ah, but you are not at home; you are in the office.
No worries, CozZo app gives you a real-time snapshot of your fridge and pantry much faster and more precisely than going through the kitchen cupboards or relying on memory. In the app you have already gathered your family’s favorite recipes and by browsing them you can see the matching ingredients you already have and any missing ones you need.
Your partner is attending a football match and won’t be home for dinner. So it is just you and the kids.
CozZo meal planner shows you that you have leftover chicken pasta, but it won’t spread to serve you all. Without this reminder, the pasta may be forgotten by everyone and gone bad in a few days.
But checking the CozZo app, you see that you have eggs, tomatoes and some parmesan. If you use the leftover pasta and make a fresh tomato frittata, you can skip the grocery tonight. After work, you can head straight home for a quick dinner fix and spent quality time with the kids.
Now think – it is Friday.
You had planned in a delicious “Chilli con carne” for tonight – however, you have a late meeting and you need to delegate the cooking for this evening to a family member – but will they know what needs to be bought and how to cook your favorite recipe?
Well, this is easy with CozZo, you can create your own recipes or modify imported ones to your taste. They are instantly matched to your inventory, just add the missing ingredients to the shopping list with a few taps and set them as urgent. Your partner will be notified that there are products to be bought today, and exactly what they are making with them.
All family members have access to CozZo’s cookbook and the recipe details page shows the instructions, ingredients, and quantities – so no need for them to come knocking on the office door to ask what to cook. You have made it so simple for them that there will be no excuse to deviate from the plan!
We have made our meal planner truly versatile with recipe collections, food inventory and shopping list integrations.
With the ability to make and modify your plan “on the go” you will be in control of your meal planning rather than overwhelmed by it. Our data shows that CozZo users were (inevitably) much more conscious of how much food they had in stock, how they were using it, and most importantly throwing away a lot less before and during the periods of lock-down. And so we believe it is vitally important to find ways to continue with these good habits as we return to ‘normal life’
So that is our take on flexible meal planning. A less daunting and straightforward approach. And above all, one that accommodates your lifestyle and schedule instead of fighting against it.