I‘ve been meal planning for a long time now and sharing them on the blog but I’ve realised I’ve never really shared how to meal plan or why!
For our family, meal planning is pretty essential. We’re so busy with work, the kids, us both trying to get to the gym so planning our meals means we know where we stand. We can have the food prepped and ready whether it’s me cooking or the hubby.
WHAT IS MEAL PLANNING?
It is what it is, planning your meals for the week in advance. It’s a simple way to keep organised, to reduce your food shopping costs and to reduce waste. I try not to waste any food and always plan our meals around the food we already have.
HOW DOES IT ACTUALLY SAVE ANY MONEY?
Like most families, we’re on a budget and by planning our meals for the week I’ve managed to really reduce the amount we’re spending each month.
In order to spend less I only buy what we actually need. I ‘shop’ the freezer & pantry before I start my lists to see what foods we already have in. Then I’ll have a quick Google of recipes to see what I can make. For instance I have half a bag of Arborio rice and some leftover veg in the fridge so risotto is definitely on the menu for next week.
I usually have a nosy in the reduced section and buy any meats that have been reduced in price. This means I normally have a good stock of meats ready for meals and just top up each week.
HOW DO YOU REDUCE FOOD WASTE?
It’s easy, I plan around what we already have but I also plan the meals based on what needs using up first. Any veg left over from the previous week will be made into stir fry, soups or sauces, or even par boiled and popped in the freezer.
Any leftovers will either be used for my lunch, I work from home but it’s easy to microwave food from your office etc, otherwise it will go into the freezer in portions ready to defrost and warm up for an easy meal.
HOW DO YOU STAY ORGANISED?
I have my little meal planner note book on the fridge door with the list of meals. Each evening when I’m making the boys packed lunches for school I’ll also check the planner & get out any frozen ingredients to defrost in the fridge ready for the next day.
Whenever we run out of any thing I can also add it to the shopping list part, then just add the extras we need for the next week’s meal plan.
Also having the list on the fridge means the hubby knows what we’re having for tea, plus getting the frozen ingredients out the night before means you’re not tempted to deviate from the list and get a takeaway or something.
So what do you think? Is meal planning something you’re going to start?