How to Meal Plan
It is a well-known fact that meal planning can save you serious amounts of cash on your weekly shop. Not only that, but it helps prevent food waste too. However, if you have never meal planned before, it is difficult to know exactly where or how to start. Grab yourself and pen and paper and follow my step by step guide on How to Meal Plan.
Which meals should I plan for?
This one is personal choice. We tend to have the same breakfasts each day (although we all have different breakfast choices), so I don’t ‘plan’ the breakfasts as what I would need to buy each week will stay the same. However, I do plan lunches, as all four of us take lunch to school/college/work, and I plan dinner each night.
Write a list of favourite meals
Begin by writing a list of your favourite meals. My family’s favourites are things like Spaghetti Bolognese and pasta dishes.
Draw a table
List the days of the week on the left and have up to three columns with the headings Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. You could have four columns and include a ‘Snack’ heading too.
Allocate Meals to Days
Using your list of favourite meals, start to allocate a meal to each day of the week. For £1 you can purchase my ready to print, instantly downloadable meal planner. If you have less time during the week than at the weekends make sure you put easy to cook meals on your busier days and leave the more time consuming meals for when you have more time to spend cooking.
Write a shopping list
You should now write down all the ingredients you will need to make these meals.
Shop from Home
Now check your cupboards. You may find you have some ingredients already in your cupboards. If you do, cross these off your list.
Check your freezer
Do you have anything in your freezer that can help with your meal plan. For example, perhaps you decided to have carrots but you have peas in the freezer. You could substitute these and save on buying carrots.
What’s lurking at the back of your cupboards?
Do you have anything in your cupboards that needs using up that you could use alongside or instead of one of your planned meals?
Shop from your list
Buy only those items you have on your shopping list. Do not be tempted by the offers that supermarkets like to attract you with.
Use by and Sell by dates
Make sure you take note of Use By and Sell By dates. If you were planning a meal later in the week but one of the items has a Use By date earlier, move the meal to earlier in the week.
Repeat each time before you shop
If you follow this process each time before you go shopping, you will ensure that you are only spending money on those ingredients that you will definitely need and use.
If you'd like to read more about meal planning, I also wrote this post What is Meal Planning?
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