Updated: May 25
I asked on our facebook group recently who did this. The results were mostly
"Oh I really must get better at this!"
How is it going to benefit you?
The short story is I saved money doing it and also a lot of time, hangry time!
As I explain in my About Me, I have lived on my own for the majority of my adult life until last year (47) so one income needed to stretch if I wanted clothes and a life!
So I started meal planning, spending a bit of time with cook books & a coffee on a Sunday, deciding what looked good to eat for the next 4-5 days.
Usually cooking a bit extra I had enough for lunches to take to work, and leftover bits to hash together a pasta or salad thing.
This meant that I spent probably only £40 a week on food so I could have enough for vino & a couple of nights out out!
It also meant that for someone who loves their food I learned to experiment, not get stuck in a rut or be lazy. Nothing wrong with a pizza or M&S meal deal but not every week.
Having something yummy to look forward to after a stressful busy day at work without having to make any more decisions was a revelation.
So how to even get started - it can seem like a mammoth task
Just start with dinner for the next 4 days. Let's say Monday - Thursday who is going to be home at what time in your house? This can make a huge difference as having the time is the biggest reason people don't do it - even though it invariably saves it.
Who is going to do the cooking?
What time have you got from getting home to needing to eat? 20 mins? An hour or two?
Do you need to cater for little ones separately?
You probably use a family calendar to do this anyway. Here's a freebie for you to get started with meal planning:
And here's a planner with food diary that could be really useful to not only plan ahead but track what you're eating, when you know you know right?
Once you know who's going to be home & when, who's cooking & how much time you've got you can gather meal ideas from online or cookbooks, magazines, pinterest...
Online you can search for 20 minute family meals, or eat for £50 for the week.
Let's face it if you've got eggs, bread & cheese you can rustle up a cheese toastie, egg on toast, omelette, scrambled eggs all in 10 mins including eating it!
I love having a list of favourites as well as learning new recipes so that we don't get stuck in a food rut!
Now there is two of us, one who classifies potatoes as the only necessary vedge, I do love to organise Monday to Friday.
Friday is almost always steak night - we buy a big piece of fillet from the local butchers at a ridiculous £30 and cut it up into 8 pieces for 4 weeks worth.
Freezers are your friend for your own ready meals in advance by overcooking portions and you've got something you can take out in the morning. Glass lidded are excellent, once defrosted you can put it into the oven, lasagne is great for this. I like amazon, search glass lidded storage containers. Might seem a bit pricey but they always look good, no orange stains from tomato pasta or soups & you can dishwash them, freeze and cook with them (from room temp)
I'm a bit funny about chicken so I buy a pack of 6 chicken breasts & always freeze the other 4 in separate bags as they take up less room in a small freezer and don't stick together if more than one.
The weekend we usually leave free to decide whatever we fancy, maybe invite friends over or be invited somewhere.
Here's another planner you might like to use that gives you recipe cards in an A4 format that will help you when you're struggling to get going.
Plus a pantry & freezer essentials list, weekly as well as monthly planner if you fancy a 4 week rotation and lots more besides.
At only £6 you can download it & get going today, print as many as you like whenever you like forever!
Just click on the picture to take a better look at what you get:
I'll leave you with my top 7 reasons to do it and you can tell us what you think over on the facebook group!
Set your budget for what you can afford to spend ensuring you're looking after yourselves. Good health is good wealth.
So much less waste! I hate throwing away good food it's like chucking money in the bin. Having a good fridge set up also prevents this so you don't wonder what's that smell ... I do find manky salad in the bottom every week
Make nutritious choices when you're not hungry, less packs of biscuits jump into your trolley!
Being hangry is just ridiculous for me, like a toddler the world is just too much! You'll always have something in your kitchen to rustle up
Looking forward to what you're having later, as if you're on holiday when all you really talk about is where you're eating tonight :)
Food intolerances are no joke and need to be prepped to avoid problems.
If it's in the house it's going to get eaten - if we are what we eat then get mostly good stuff then you're going to eat mostly good stuff.
Thank you for reading - please like this blog post, leave a comment with your own good ideas we can learn together.