PLEASE explain 'meal planners' to me and help me make one/....(11 Posts)
I waste so much food
I go through tescos buying random things with no particular 'meal' in mind, then i don't use them or the date runs out ...
Im sick of throwing things away.
How does meal planning work|?
is it weekly? Fortnightly?
I want to make real, healthy meals rather than crap from the freezer (i dont always do this but I would like to get into a better food routine)
What kind of budget would I need, Is it doable on about £35 per week? (usually spend £45 a week on shopping but that includes extras such as cleaning products and essentials such as bread, milk ...)
Oh and what meals do you recommend?
We are a family of 4, but the kids are only 2 & 3 so don't have huge portions.
For me, meal planning is weekly. I sit down and plan the meals for the following week (often based on what I'm doing as I often work away from home e.g. very simple meal on days I'm going to be late). I add all of the things required to make the meals to the shopping list which is already running.
I shop on-line so I do the meal planning and the shopping on a Wednesday, usually for delivery the following Tues/Wed.
My planning ideas are generally tried and tested favourites.
Since both of us work, I'm convinced that we wouldn't actually eat if I didn't do this!
I generally include at least 1 fish, 1 red meat and 1 white meat dish during the week. I tend to batch cook once a week i.e. make 6 fish pies rather than 1 to freeze, this keeps a store of come cooked meals for days when I don't have time to cook. Also useful for meals before the shopping comes. There is usually a pasta dish (have a great spinach and mascarpone recipe which DS will eat).
Hope this helps
For me a meal planner is purely a list of meals you are going to eat that week.
So for instance:-
Monday fishpie, boiled potatoes, beans
Tuesday macaroni cheese, garlic bread, salad
Wednesday pesto/pepper/feta cheese tarts, ovencips, rest of salad from tuesday
Friday chicken and lentil curry
Saturday chicken fahitas
Sunday roast beef, yorkshires, roas potatoes, carrots and broccoli
Then I make my shopping list according to what I need for hte above.
Add onto the shopping list the weeky 'staples' such as milk, bread etc
Go and buy what is on the list only.
Certain meals can be batch cooked, for instance the mac cheese, lasagna, curry, I buy double the ingredients required, cook double and freeze half for another week.
i meal plan fortnightly and yes it is doable on about £40 for food because i do it on around that buying mainly own brands. that doesn't include any beer/wine for me and oh though. weeks where we need nappies/wipes/cleaning stuff usually cost an extra tenner or so depending what's on offer nappy wise.
check your cupboards/freezer before you shop so you know what you have in and look out for bogof offers for stuff you actually will use or that you can freeze one of to use at a later date.
Agree with sticking rigidly to the list, otherwise you get to the checkout and get a nasty shock imo!
Meal planning is simple and easy.
Just plan in advance what you are going to cook and eat that week/fortnight.
Keep to things you know how to cook quickly and easily and meals your family like.
When planning, think bout things like what ingredients you will buy for certain meals, and encorporate those inot later meals too, so if you buy a packet of french beans for monday's dinner, and will only use half, make sure you plan on using the rest of the packet with dinner later in the week, that cuts down on wastage too.
Do you have a big freezer? Bulk cook anything that can be frozen for future meals, and they can then be encorporated into future meal plans. Cheaper to make four times as much bolognese in one go than to make it four times, with new ingredients, on four consecutive weeks.
I tend to walk round the kitchen with a pen and paper and look at what leftovers/soggy veg I hvae in the bottom of the fridge and base the first few meals of the week around using those up.
I then make a plan alternating the carbs we have each night, so if we have pasta on MOnday, we might have something with spuds on Tuesday, rice Wednesday, noodles Thursday, etc etc. Sounds a bit anal and it does sometimes go out the window because DH wants a curry, but usually works quite well and have very little waste.
If you are buying vegetables all in one go make sure you plan to eat the vegetables with the shortest shelf/fridge life earliest in the week. For example you would want to use mushrooms and salad ingredients fairly quickly but a swede should last all week.
I havent had to do a big shop this week as I used up what was in the freezer/cupboards/fridge.
This week we are having
butternut squash risotto
Tuna and borlotti beans with crunchy HM bread
Bacon, chickpea and tomato pasta
Get others in the family to help you decide.
Decide the meals then do a list.
i've just started this, and i'm buying far less. i decided what i'd need for the week, wrote a list, and every week i do an online shop. i check the cupboards / freezer beforehand for anything we still have enough of first.
Evening meals are...
Monday- Chip shop tea
Tuesday- Pasta of various kinds
Wednesday- Burgers and salad
Thursday- Turkey and veg stir fry with noodles
Friday- Cheese, crackers, bread etc
Saturday- Curry and rice
I don't work on Wednesdays, so i make enough pasta Tuesdays for lunch Wednesday too. I buy value bread and freeze it, and enough UHT milk for the week. I normally get it delivered on a Tuesday/Wednesday so the salad/stir fry veg is fresh.
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