If you want to cut down on your monthly/weekly spending, one of the best ways is to start planning meals.
I used to wake up in the morning and the first thing to enter my head is “Whats for dinner?”. It used to stress me out. When I was working full time I would need to take something out the freezer most mornings before work. If I didn’t it would end up being either takeaway or something that goes straight from freezer to oven.
Reduce stress by knowing ahead of time whats on the menu for the next few days.
I often swap days around if I’m not feeling like that days meal. Or maybe plans have changed. A meal plan can still be flexible … it just takes away the guessing.
No wasted ingredients or rotten produce
Remember that diet you were starting last week when you were grocery shopping. You bought the lettuce, cucumbers, celery & courgettes?
One week later they’re in the bin. Another batch of good intentions gone rotten.
Check what you have in your pantry & freezer … and almost more importantly, check their Best Before Dates! Our cupboards are often full of tins that have been moved to the back shelf for ‘one day’. Take a note of these and think of recipes where they can be used.
Yes, this is the big one! Creating a Meal Plan means you only shop for the items you need when you need them. You’ll save money rather than throwing it in the bin a week later.
Takeaways are expensive. They’re great when everyone wants something different to eat. But 1 average family takeaway can be as much as 30% of your weekly food budget! That adds up quickly!
By making a Grocery List and sticking to it, you’ll see a huge difference in your till receipt.
Healthy, Nutritional Meals
When you’re writing out your Meal Plan its easier to create a variety of meals. You won’t accidentally have 3 days of chicken. Or if theres a day without vegetables, you can make up for it the next day.
I’m a visual person and having a weeks meals in front of me makes my life so much easier.
Things to consider when Meal Planning
Plan your meats
I often forget to have fish. Once I’ve planned the meals I try to make sure I have 2 days of fish, 2 chicken, 2 beef & maybe pizza or pasta the other day.
Plan your veggies or salads
My boys are quite good with eating their vegetables. But they don’t like a huge variety of vegetables, so I’m trying to give them salads too. As its summer I’m trying to have salad a minimum of twice a week.
Fresh or Frozen
Do you need to take it out the freezer in the morning or can it go straight into the oven? I like to have a few choices in case I forget (hello Mommy brain!).
Slow cooker, Crock pot or Instant Pot
I don’t use my slow cooker as much as I would like to. Its great for those days you’re going out and won’t feel like cooking when you get back home. I also love the smell of dinner cooking as you open the front door!
I try to plan 1 meal a week that can go in the slow cooker.
Coming Up Next …
Next week in Meal Planning Part 2 I’ll discuss the steps I use to plan meals. I have created a Meal Planner kit to help you plan out your week or months meals in advance. I’ll be showing you how I use this Kit for my family. Theres a FREE Weekly Meal Planner in the shop too.