I need a meal planning & food shop routine - sick of going to supermarket everyday!! Please tell me your routines(44 Posts)
I know it probably sounds like the easiest thing in the world to most people but I struggle with ADD problems which affect my organisational skills.
I have tried so many times to get organised with meal planning & food shopping but I just can't seem to get in to a routine. As a result I feel fed up that I'm a)wasting too much time & money going to the supermarket every day for what we need & b) that I'm not planning meals well enough to ensure we are all eating healthily.
I work every day until 1.00 & then back to pick up dc's at 3.00. This is a new thing as ds has just started school so at last I have a whole hour & a half to myself each day. I want to get more organised to make better use of this time but am currently spending every day going to get food for that night & other things we've run out of!
I have an autoimmuune condition which can leave me feeling wiped out some days by teatime and so pasta & pizza seem like the easy options but it's bothering me that I'm not doing the best for my kids & myself in terms of food. If doesn't help that they are both quite fussy & like different things so my mind just draws a blank when it comes to planning a week's meals.
I'd be grateful if anyone could share their meal plan and food shop routines as I just can't seem to find something that works for me.
I shop every Thursday for a whole week.
Before going I write a list of everything we're low on. I also write the days of the week and what we'll eat for dinner everyday (although I might muddle up the order depending on what we fancy on a particular night), then I only top up milk or anything I've forgotten in the week.
Our meals this week are :
Thursday - roast chicken
Friday - chicken fried rice with speing rolls and prawn crackers
Sat - out
Sun - cheesy pasta and salad
Mon - leftover roast chicken baked in gravy
Tues - sausage egg chips beans
Wed - cheese toasty and salad
Thurs - baked sweet potato topped with cheese and bacon with leftover roast chicken.
Last week our meals were :
Cheese and ham toasty.
Chicken breast topped with spring onion mushroom bacon and cheese sauce with pasta.
Gammon with roast potatoes.
Home made sausage roll and chips.
Frittata and salad.
Lists are key and keeping things topped up rather than running out midweek.
I'm a nanny and I plan the meals for the children I look after on a three week basis. Each week I include chicken, veggie, mince, fish and meat e.g. chops or steak and try to do a different carb each day too and at least two vegetables. I have it written down in a planner with a shopping list for everything I need to cook that weeks meals. Every few months I rethink the meals for a bit of variety.
It works well.
I do an online shop every Friday for delivery on Sunday. Meal plan first and then write the list accordingly.
Ocado reserved – shopping comes every Tuesday morning at 7.30am. I don’t work on Monday so when DS is having his nap on Monday, I sit down and plan the week’s meals.
Meal plan – I have an A4 notepad attached to a clipboard on the wall. It has 3 columns.
LHS is shopping list – people add stuff to it as needed. Mostly this will be bought in the next ocado shop so people need to look at what they are using and put things on the list in good time.
RHS is meal plan for the week, I plan weekdays pretty heavily as I don’t get home until 6.30 then baths and bed for the little ones and then I have to cook for me and DH so full on. I something plan Sat and Sun, sometimes don’t bother. Monday is nothing leftovers or freezer bingo or a simple pasta dish.
Middle column is for (1) ideas – maybe we’ve not had curry for a while and I didn’t manage to fit it in this week but this will remind me for next week, (2) things to make – eg birthday cake, make a batch of something for freezer, use up something that’s been hanging around and (3) local shopping ie stuff not from ocado so butcher/nice deli/fishmonger.
I freeze all meat and fish products so I take them out in the morning they are needed and if something comes up or we don’t fancy kale salad that night, it can roll over to the next night. Most things I cook are flexible enough to last another night or be repurposed into something else. Not planning for Sat and Sun means that if we’ve had a week of going off piste then I can use up any leftovers. Mostly though I do a small top up shop on Friday evening on my way home from work or Saturday morning (going to butchers at same time) and get whatever I want to cook for the weekend. It makes the weekend cooking seem a bit more fun and enjoyable.
I shop on a Saturday or Sunday for the week. I sit down at some point on a Friday and write a Sunday-Saturday meal plan. It's pretty basic n samey but I just cook what the dc will eat. Friday is always pizza day.
Then I use the plan to write down every single thing we'll need for the week.
Then I rarely have to go get anything else except for bread.
Oh and I aim for not more than one rice/one pasta/one potato/one bread meal in the week; ditto try to vary between veggie/chicken/fish/beef/pork on the protein side. Weekends, again I am more relaxed about. But if you meal plan then you can see where you are being repetitive.
You need to be organised.
I Keep a big yellow post it note by the kitchen door, anything we run out of gets written down: tomato ketchup, salad cream etc.
Before I go shopping I scan the fridge and cupboards : do I need bread, milk, youghurt tubes for kids. They get added to the already list.
Then I decide what we are going to eat. What do we have, what do we need to add to it to make a meal.
We eat a variety of meals: roast, curry, chilli. Chicken or steak pie with new potatoes and 3 steamed veg, chicken fajitas, lamb shanks with mashed potato carrots and peas.
I always have tonnes of stuff like pizza in the freezer for when I can't be bothered.
I also batch cook.
I buy a lot from the reduced isle. I see packs of 12 meatballs, I buy 48 of them, cook them in sauce, bag them and then I have 4 meals in the freezer. Before I go to work I just pull one out.
I think the secret for me, is that I only meal plan for the next 2 or 3 days. Not for week.
So, I decide on the meals, add them to the list and go and buy all my stuff.
That way I'm only in the supermarket every few days.
I find that more manageable. Would that help?
I've always been quite organised with my meal planning and getting tesco to deliver twice a week . But my stress has always been deciding what to eat each night. My solution has been signing up for Gousto and I love it! I get the ingredients for 3 or 4 meals delivered once a week. They take around 30 minutes to cook and it is so easy. It is expensive but I am saving money each week as I can economise on the other meals each week. I can pm you a referral link if you want which gives £15 off your first box.
Mine has gone out the window while the kitchen is being replaced, which is dragging on but generally I get a delivery on Tuesday and buy fresh fruit and veg from a stall on Saturday.
OP, I also struggle with organisation.
For me, meal planning is just an aspiration. Trying to plan meals for a whole week is just too much.
So I don't. I get the staples of easy to cook meals delivered twice a week and then I can throw stuff together. I base our meals around meat and fish so I generally buy salmon, chicken and mince, and make sure we have rice, pasta, potatoes and about four types of frozen veg. I also always keep frozen mash in. That's evening meals basically done.
If I think one day, 'Ooh, lamb with minted peas would be nice' then I write it on the shopping list without worrying about exact ingredients and figure that out when I come to place the order.
I think vaguely about packed lunches when I'm shopping and try to make sure we have enough in but most of that stuff will keep for ages so not too much waste.
Shopping list lives on the fridge and if we are running out or low the rule is WRITE IT ON THE LIST. Because I shop twice a week I now have faith that things will arrive before there is a real disaster.
I also use a shopping app so I can just add toilet paper to the shop while I'm on the loo looking at the dwindling pile of loo rolls.
Finally, I have accepted that I am going to waste some food and that is just a fact of life because I don't have the kind of brain that can make it otherwise. I could spend hours obsessing over our food shopping (which is what it would take) but I just don't want to and have more important things to do.
I've just started getting into the meal planning world I find it helps us save money.
What I do is make sure I have some cupboard/freezer/ fridge staples that if all goes wrong I can at least make one dish (usually pasta) I keep:
I get DH to go to the butcher every Saturday or Sunday and get us
4 chicken breasts that I clean,bag and freeze.
Some mince meat (I use it that day I'm weird about freezing it)
Cod filliets (usually from supermarket)
Then I just plan my meals around that with the chicken I have tons of options
Chicken pasta bake
Chicken and veggies
Chicken fried rice
The options are endless.
With the meat it's usually
Fish is usually.
I try to make pizza once a week.
I do a fortnightly meal plan and online shop. Keep a note on the board in the kitchen of things we are out of and add those to the list.
This helps me get a balance of meat, fish, veggie and plan to use leftovers.
I get a fortnightly Tesco delivery, usually on an evening midweek. I have to top up at least once a week, usually on fresh fruit and veg, sometimes milk too. Top ups are getting a little bit out of control recently though, so I need to watch that! For example, there's an Aldi near where I work so I often pop there during lunchtime for fruit and veg and end up stocking up on all kinds of Aldi bargains that I don't technically need...
I meal plan using a family calendar. It's only me and DS at home so I get one of those calendars with 5 columns, use one for my stuff, one for DS's and then another one for food. It helps doing it like this as it reminds me when we are out, or if DS has football training or a party or other things that'll impact on what we'll eat. I tend to only plan dinners and like other people, try to include a good balance of things.
I'll look through the cupboards and freezer to see what I already have before I meal plan, then write a shopping list based on that. I also keep a running shopping list on the fridge to note down staples as they run out.
I tend to do the Tesco order about a week in advance then add things as I think of them. I'll go through all special offers too!
Do you have any time when you can batch cook? That can be a godsend for quick midweek meals! I always cook extra of curry/bolog/chili etc (mainly because there's just no point just cooking enough for 1 adult and 1 child) and freeze the extras in portions so I just need to cook up some rice or pasta to go with it.
My favourite quick healthy meal is salmon baked in foil in the oven with some soy sauce, ginger, garlic and chili, served with a pouch of microwave rice (or if I am feeling particularly virtuous, one of those mixed grains pouches) and some steamed veg (often from the freezer). Minimal preparation and effort and takes about 20 mins
A lot of what I do has been mentioned above.
I make sure I have loads of non perishables, so I am never short on that.
I always have a variety of frozen meats. The only thing I have to get every week is vegetables and I really don't like them frozen, but if you don't mind, problem solved.
Keeping a few ready meals for emergencies/long days is good too
With your medical condition I would suggest doing as much you can in advance on good days. Chop your vegetables, toss them in containers, before freezing you meat prepare and season it. So on days where you don't feel too well all you need to do is toss everything in a pan.
As for healthy, do your best, don't beat youself up. What helps me make hearthy meals is I always choose my veggies first and work around them.
Guetting organised in the kitchen takes time and practice. I get easily lost. What I do that helps me tonnes is I follow a recepe for nearly everything. I generally change ingredients and simplify steps, but the point is to have a plan to come back to. Like this, when start losing my focus all I need to do is go back to the recepe.
In your shoes I would pick a day and shop before collecting DS. I would do it once a week and shop for the whole week. If that's too much then get it delivered once a week.
My routine is:
Tuesday - meal plan after school run (you could do it the night before). Shop after dropping middle dc at Kindy. Food has to last the week.
Then meals go:
Tuesday - fish
Wednesday - cheap/ on toast (beans, cheese, soup etc)
Thursday - fish again (usually prawns from the freezer)
Friday - pizza/ junk food (chips and something) made at home
Saturday - whatever I feel like when I menu plan
Sunday - roast
Monday - left over (so risotto from left over roast chook for example)
I usually also make something like soup or quiche on Thursday that will do for a few days lunches.
The only way I can make it work is to do it monthly. I'm not exact in what we have, it might say 'pork chips' or whatever but then the rest is flexible. I also stick to the same meal 2-3 times a week - eg fish on Thursday (market day)
Thank you for all the ideas & suggestions. What do you do if your children are fussy? Mine like not only different things to me & DH but also to each other! It makes it so hard to just make one meal, I could potentially be making 3 variations!
I became completely expert in making completely plain meals that I could add things to for different people.
So for instance plain chicken, rice and broccoli (all separate, obviously, we wouldn't want to eat things mixed together, God forbid!) but then a sauce that the adults could put on. It's boring but it gets the job done and then you can do a nice adult meal sometimes with pizza for the kids.
If they are picky I would add little plates of nuts , cheeses, bread n butter , chick peas from tin , carrots .
They then get to choose healthy bits but are encouraged to eat same as everyone else .
We often have
Risotto - just rice with stock to favour , green beans , chicken whatever we have in .
Spag Bol .
Pasta with pesto and veg
Tortilla wraps where people choose own fillings ( cheeses , chicken , gherkins , peppers , salsa etc)
Fish and chips
A deli night - buffet
Mac cheese n sausages
Saus mash gravy and green s
Omelette with salad
All these things can have an element of choice if they are picky whilst sticking to one main meal .
Ive got 3 vegans,3 vegetarians to feed.plus one is a fussy toad...it's so hard keeping enough fruit and veg in..it dosnt seem to last ,freshness I mean so I end up shopping daily as well.drives me mad.and costs more..getting some good ideas from this thread thou,thanks
Google a book called "What's for dinner?" It's a bit too much for me as I tend to see ingredients and decide there and then, but it is well thought through with a full week's menus and shopping lists for a family of five. Not difficult cooking, and reasonably quick, healthy meals, sensibly budgeted. Might be a good start for you.
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