As I promised, I will be sharing my weekly meal plans in order to inspire you to try the same and to give you recipes!
I have been meal planning for over 3 years now and have all the plans throughout that time. It would take me an age to share all of my plans, so I shall start from here and add in some surprise recipes that I think you will like or I feel would be a good addition to your dinners. To start, I thought it would be best to share some hints and tips with you to get you going.
I found that the best way to start your meal planning journey is to buy a lovely new notebook (everyone loves new notebooks!)
Dig through your cookery books and magazines to create the starts of a library of recipes – for digital recipes, save them in a clearly labelled folder in your emails or book marks with meaningful tags so you can find them with ease
Have a clear out – check what you have in the fridge and freezer and use these items up before you start your meal planning or….better still….integrate them into your meals!
2. Who is going to be eating the meals?
When planning your meals, you need to remain mindful of who will be eating them. For example, will it be you, the other half and the kids of just you and the other half? What foods are preferred, are there any dietary requirements etc. This information will influence the types of meals that you choose.
It is also useful to check the calendar for days when someone might be eating out or doesn’t need lunch as the company is providing it etc. This will feed into whether you need left overs, how much or whether you need to plan an alternative?
3. Keep your menu varied but healthy
With my meal plans, I aim to cover a variety of meals within the week i.e. a soup/stew, a meal with rice, noodles, pasta, pastry, couscous etc. It means that you don’t end up overwhelming yourself with carbs or boring yourself with rice!
4. Note down meal ideas when you think of them!
Don’t rely on memory to conjure up meal ideas when you sit down to do your meal plan, choose a safe place to note down ideas and recipe location so that you can pick from them. A great place to do this is in your phone or the back of the notebook.
5. Take your time and enjoy the process
If you take your time to plan your meals, you will be less likely to find that you chose something on a whim – something that you may not want later on in that week! It an create great excitement and anticipation for the meals ahead!
6. Write your shopping list as you go along
As you make your meal plan, write your shopping list to only include the ingredients that you need – check the fridge/cupboard/larder/freezer if in doubt, so that you don’t purchase something you already have in.
When you go shopping (or place your online order) be strong and make sure you don’t get sucked into the ‘buy 1 get 1 free’ or ‘get 2 for £3.99’ lures unless you actually do need the product.
This is one way that supermarkets help people to waste food!!
7. Be kind to yourself
Some people find the transition to meal planning a little difficult, so if you do slip up and end up ‘not in the mood to cook’, do not beat yourself up about it (so long as it doesn’t become a habit!)
A handy money saving tip is to keep ready made pizza/homemade pasties in the freezer for times like this – you can bung them into the oven with little effort and know that, although you haven’t stuck to your plan, you are still eating healthy homemade food at the fraction of the price of take-away.
If you are having any trouble or would like more hints and tips, get in touch and I will help in any way that I can.