Since I was living away from home at University I have liked to meal plan. I think it has something to do with my inner ‘Monica,’ always having to plan something. I like things to be ‘just so’ and for me, knowing what I have in my cupboards will actually be useful helps me to keep sane. Bizarre I know!
I have also found over the years that meal planning does save me money. I do like to cook, but I will check what I have in and then just supplement what is already in the house. So sometimes, the weekly shop is simply getting in a few bits like tinned tomatoes and some fresh fruit and vegetables to go with what we already have in. So I just thought I’d share what I have learnt along the way. We can all do with saving a bit of cash, right?
Use a Wide Variety of Recipes
I am pretty much a cook book queen. So as a result, I have a pretty vast range of recipes to choose from. I am a bit of a loser in that I tend to ‘read’ a cookbook from start to finish when I get it. So I have a rough idea of what is in there. Then if I know we have pork in the freezer, I remember which books have a pork recipe in. Then I can do my meal planning accordingly. So get some cook books if you don’t already, and read plenty of food blogs. Pinterest is great for that!
Check the Weather
I know, it sounds a bit random. But what we eat can depend on the weather. The weather can affect how we’re feeling, so I like to plan accordingly. Just last night, it was between a salmon salad or a chorus pasta dish for dinner. As it was so grey and miserable outside, I opted for the pasta dish as it felt like comfort food weather. When it’s cold and grey, it is harder for me to want salads. On a sunny day; I’m there! So although I meal plan, I am not precise at what we have each day. Rather, I just know what the options will be for the next five or so days.
Keep a Notebook
Having a notebook to write down what you are actually going to have is a good idea. Otherwise, you won’t remember. I know a few people that have little chalkboards that they use, but I stick to a notebook. It is also a good idea to write down how the meals went. Were they really tasty or actually something you wouldn’t bother with again? Then you can go back to check it when you’re making your meal plan.
Plan For Leftovers
If you know that you’re going to be making something like a lasagne, then go ahead and presume that you are going to have leftovers for the next day (presuming your standard dish is larger than your family will eat). Then you could just supplement with a green salad. A cheap day to eat when al you’ll need to buy for that day is some salad leaf and salad vegetables.
Keep a Well Stocked Cupboard
It is easy to plan meals and only buy the fresh things if you’ve got a well stocked food cupboard. So each time you shop, throw in a few extra tins of corn or chopped tomatoes, for example. Having dried goods like pasta and quinoa in is handy too, as well as thing likes stock cubes and dried pulses. Then you can pretty much make most dishes when you add in some veg and protein.
Are you someone that meal plans? Any tips that you would add?