If you’ve been following my blog for the past year or so, you will have noticed that pretty much every week without fail, I publish a Meal Planning Monday post. Since we have started creating weekly meal plans, we’ve saved money, cut down on the amount of food that gets thrown away and there’s no longer that 5pm panic when you realise you need to dig something out for tea. We don’t always stick to it rigidly – we might swap the days around a little bit or change rice for pasta, or something like that, but generally, it gives us a basis for shopping and cooking for the week ahead.
It isn’t always easy to start to meal planning. In fact, the first few times I did it I was a little bit overwhelmed and didn’t quite know where to start. Now that I’ve been doing it for more than a year, it only takes me a few minutes on a Sunday to plan, so I thought I’d share some tips.
Meal Planning Organisational Tips
- Create a list of family favourites and go-to recipes that can be regularly rotated. Spaghetti bolognaise features very regularly on our meal plans because I know everyone likes it and will eat it!
- Before you plan, check what ingredients you have in your cupboards, fridge and freezer and make a note of what needs to be used up. This will save you throwing away food that has gone out of date and saves you money buying any duplicates.
- Note down on your meal plan any activities that might make any difference to your meals – on a Tuesday, the kids have a church group, so I know we don’t get back until later and they have toast there, so it’s usually a quick and easy meal for us.
- Consider how you might incorporate any leftovers – if you a roast dinner on Sunday, can you use any leftover meat in Monday’s meal?
- Have your meal plan on display – it really makes you much more accountable and reminds you to take anything out of the freezer or prepare any bits in advance. There are loads of pretty meal plan boards out there that you can buy, but a really simple whiteboard hung up on the kitchen wall is just as effective. I like the ones from Sundeala, who have a selection of whiteboards in various sizes, starting at around £15. There’s also a choice of colour pin boards and magnetic boards, which are perfect for all the letters and notices from school. Of course, if you don’t have space for any boards, you can print off my free printable meal plan and stick it on the fridge.
What are your tips for making meal planning easier?