Since moving out, I’ve made it my mission to meal plan every week and stick to it.
Not only is it so important for budgeting, I like to monitor my diet really closely and make sure I’m aware of what I’m eating as much as possible, so planning my meals out helps me keep on top of that.
I thought I’d share with you how I meal plan in case you’re keen to try and start meal planning yourself, whether it to be save money, reduce food waste or monitor diet.
1. Write it Down
I have a weekly planner in my kitchen that has both mine and J’s hours on it, our meals for the week, bills we need to pay that week, things we need to do and special occasions. It’s a big A3 pad we can both refer to and kind of organises our whole life but it’s where I plan all our meals.
I find writing down the meal plan with pen and paper opposed to on my phone or just keeping it in my head makes it official and that way I have to stick to it. It also means J know what what we’re having too.
I’ll base our meals around our working hours, so I’ll cook bigger meals that need more ingredients on days we’re both eating and when J is on lates and I’m eating alone, I’ll plan something easier to do for one.
2. Start with the Freezer
When I’m picking my meals for the week, I always start in my freezer and this is how I save money by meal planning.
Instead of planning loads of meals that will mean I need to buy a lot of ingredients in, I’ll go through my fridge, freezer and cupboards and see what meals I can make out of what I’ve already got in.
I usually have sausages in that will either do a meal for just me or both me and J and usually have sides such as chips, pasta and noodles that can be used up by just buying a couple of new ingredients.
3. Organise Your Meal Plan to Reduce Waste
To reduce waste and save money, I’ll organise my meal plan to use up everything I buy and stop having to throw leftover/excess ingredients away.
For example, if we have wrap pizzas, I’ll buy a tin of Pizza Express Passata but we won’t use it all for pizza but the leftover can be made into a pasta sauce, so I’ll plan to do a pasta dish the next day where that can be used up. It saves money as I don’t need to buy a pasta sauce and stops wasting it.
4. Write Your Shopping List From Your Meal Plan
Once I’ve done my meal plan, I’ll write my shopping list based directly off what I need to make those meals and that stops me guessing or over buying.
I’ll go through the plan meal by meal and whatever ingredients I need that I don’t have in the house, I’ll add to the list and I find writing my shopping list like this reduces my spend and stops having a lot of excess food in the house.
I’ll then add breakfast and lunch items on by going through the fridge and cupboards and checking what I need to stock up on.
My meal planning technique is pretty basic but it works for me, so hopefully it will help you too!
Do you have any tips for successful meal planning? Share them in the comments!