Spend less time cooking with the 4+2+1 meal prepping formula

meal panning formula
By Livia Gamble

Two Melbourne mums have come up with a foolproof plan for feeding your family dinner every.single.night. 

Friends Jen Petrovic and Gaby Chapman came up with the 4+2+1 formula to help other parents cut back on how much time they spend cooking each week. Their idea is so great, they’ve turned it into a book: Plan, Buy, Cook Book.

How does the 4+2+1 formula work?

“The 4+2+1 formula means you cook four meals each week, take two from the freezer and make one simple meal using leftovers,” Jen and Gaby told Daily Mail Australia.

“By only having to cook four meals from scratch, you can save so much time and also have tasty, healthy home-cooked meals without the daily ‘what’s for dinner?’ stress.”

plan, buy, cook book

Your week in a nutshell


Plan four meals that you want to make during the week. Two of those meals shouldn’t take you any more than an hour, including prep time and serving. The other two meals need to be freezer friendly.

Monday and Tuesday

Think simple yet delicious meals like a stir fry or tacos. If it’s going to take longer than 60 minutes, forget about it.

Wednesday and Thursday

These meals require a bit more time, but the pay is worth it. Choose a recipe from our freezer-friendly meal ideas article, make double, eat half and freeze the rest for next week. 

Friday and Saturday

This is where all of your planning pays off. Defrost something from the freezer and serve with a simple side.


On the last day you rest. Make something easy like eggs or a cheese toastie. Better yet, get takeaway.

A huge savings

As well as saving you time and energy, Jen and Gaby say this plan will also save you money. 

“If you plan your meals and only buy what you need for the week without impulse buying, you will save around $2,500 per year,” they said. 

“It’s easy to be tempted at the end of the aisle or at the checkout, or by those lovely eggplants which look great. But if you haven’t got a plan to use any of this, they will go to waste.”

Sounds pretty good to us!

Have an opinion about the pregnancy or baby products you’ve tried? Earn rewards by reviewing baby products from home – you’ll earn points that can be exchanged for vouchers at Coles, Target and Kmart! Sign up here to start earning.

Read more:


Search for a product or category

Read reviews from real parents like you

Find the right product to purchase

Join the community & leave a review