The most important part of feeding a family on a budget is that you plan you food for the week. Going to the shops with no plan on what you actually need is a big no! no!
With no list how do you know what’s in your cupboard or fridge, or the ingredients needed for a meal you are making? Going out without a list is like going to the hairdressers with no style in mind. You just dont do it.
A list prevents you from getting too much of a product – leading to waste – and is an attempt to stop impulse buying which can be very costly. Trust me I know. I once spent £25 on party food because I was hungry and what’s worse I went shopping without a list resulting in a nearly £80 shop!
A list helps you to ensure you stick to your budget and dont over spend.
Planning your meals for a week is a sure way to ensure you keep costs low and more importantly have some sort of organisation in the house. Which is vital when you have children.
I always sit down with my little one and look through the cookbooks together. If there is something she wishes to have it goes on my 6 meals list. I do 6 meals which are planned and 1 unplanned meal a week. This means that we get to have anything we like on the day, which is usually a saturday.
Where to start
It can be quite daunting to meal prep if you dont really know how to do it, or if you have never done it before.
Here are my tips on making it a little easier to start…
- What meals did you have last week?
- You don’t really want to be eating the same foods every week so making sure you don’t duplicate a meal from the week before is a good way to stop food boredom.
- Is there anything new you want to try?
- I always try to have at least 1 new item in my meal plan for the week. Whether this is a breakfast idea, a lunch thing, or an evening meal. Trying something new means that we are constantly expanding our food palettes, and what’s more we are always having fun with our food.
- Look at the food you have in your fridge and cupboards
- See what there is in the cupboards before making up your meal plans, is there anything that you have that could make up a meal?
- This is the best thing that I have ever done it helps me to use up all the things I have in the cupboards. I have been so inventive with some of my recipes just from going through my cupboards and fridge before sorting out my meal plan.
- Allow someone else to choose one meal, each week.
- Take the pressure off of you and let someone else choose a meal they would like to have.
- Make a list, or find an inventive way to document all of your recipes that you use on a weekly basis.
- So you can easily and quickly get the ingredients you need, and so you can see how varied your diet is. Is there something missing from your recipes? Do you have a good mix of potato dishes, pasta, rice etc. Or have you got more of one ingredient in your repertoire?
These are the few tips that will help you to plan your meals for the week, allowing you to make sure that you have made the most out of everything that you have in your cupboards. But most importantly making sure that your food doesn’t become boring.
I tend to write down about 10-14 meals that I am happy to cook for the week and ask Isabelle to pick the ones she would like (I do this like a lucky dip in a hat and she loves it.) By selecting 10-14 meals means that I have some control over the meals we will be eating for the week, and therefore we can attempt to reduce the amount of repeated meals week to week.
My Weekly Meal Plan
I have spoken so much about how to do a meal plan, but I thought I would show you what my meal plans generally look like. So just for you all, today, I will show you my meal plan for this week coming.
As you can see on this meal plan, my meals for the week are mainly ONE POT dishes. This is for ease and speed for our meals as we tend to be rather busy and forget about the time. In having the one pot dishes I can prep in the morning and finish the dish in the evening. This means that I am not using up too much time cooking in the evening. I also try to make sure that I am giving my daughter and myself a variety of different foods throughout the week, rather than a week of just pasta, or potato dishes.
This is how I meal prep every week, I hope that I have inspired and helped you out with how to meal plan. I find it a really useful way to help with my weekly budget and knowing exactly what I am cooking for the week.
Let me know what you do to meal plan, or if you are going to use my tips to help you out.
See you all soon