What can i say, I love to meal plan. If your like me, your sick of spending a fortune on your food shopping and want to know a good way to lower costs immediately. Consistent meal planning does just that. But a great meal plan also has many other positive impacts on the way you eat.
You most probably know what a meal plan is already – Meal planning is the process of planning your meals on a weekly basis. Rather than wondering what’s for dinner each night, it is already decided witch in most families getting rid of ‘what’s for dinner’ can only be a good thing!
There is not so effective and effective meal planning. The way we organise and implement our meal plan helps achieve lower cost shopping, more you time, less runs to the shop to buy what you have forgot and awesome homemade cooking. Let’s take a look at the meal planning basics and the simple way to plan your meals.
Getting your kitchen ready for meal planning
Before you start meal planning, i would highly recommend having a well stocked pantry with all the basic ingredients you need to cook lovely home made meals. Items like herbs, Spices, Oils are good starts but you can read my post on food staples you need for more information
How i meal plan
My meal plan normally starts on a saturday night or a sunday morning. I will check the freezer and fridge and make a note of anything that is to be used up. I’m mainly looking for meat, veg and meals that are frozen from previous weekly meal plans.
I do this so i can plan the weeks meals around the food we already have, and to make sure i dont purchase excess food that we don’t need. Say we have a full chicken in the freezer, i can probably squeeze out 3 meals from that such as Chicken fried rice, chicken wraps, chicken pizza, You get the idea.
A great way we keep the costs down and to make meal planning simpler is to have a fixed amount of go to recipes that you cook regularly. For us that would be meals like Shepherd’s pie, fried rice and our weekly home made pizza.
This allows us to stock up on the food we eat most, so if i see say mince meat on sale for 30% off i am safe to buy a few months supply as it will eaten and will save us money. If you do this with all of your food staples then you will drastically cut your food bill at the same time as meal planning.
Here a few notable meal planning tips and tricks that work for us!
Use a meal planning printable
I know some people don’t like writing things down all the time, But success will be found by those who plan ahead! Its no good trying to memorise what ingredients and recipes you will be cooking for any one week, just write it down. Here is a free printable if you would like a physical copy, otherwize notes on your phone work justs as well.
Write down and plan each days main meals ahead of time If you would like you can write lunches and breakfasts and even snacks. I tend to eat similar things for lunch and snacks though. Either leftovers from other days or soups, sandwitches, wraps that we have frozen for everyday use are our go to lunches.
There comes a point in every meal plan where something happens and you just can’t get around to cooking that days meal. That is fine and it does happen. We ensure we don’t have to buy a takeaway or eat out by simply having meals ready to go.
Overcompensate some of your favorite meals, Cook twice as much. We use a 15L cooking pot and fill it with stews, soups and a variety of other meals. We freeze all the extras for them times when you just cannot get to the stove top. We simply take it out the night before of microwave from frozen like any shop bought ready meal.
Stick to your meal plan
The most important part of any meal plan is actually sticking to it! I know it can be difficult at times, i am guilty of staying myself from time to time. But sticking to your meal plan for a while will break you into the idea. After a few weeks you will have all of the routine down.
After that it is plain sailing, You can enjoy the benefits of meal planning to their fullest. You will eat healthier in general, save money and have less waste overall. Good luck meal planning and as always, live more and spend less!