Meal planning/menu planning can be a subject that people disagree on, but I’m firmly in the camp that does meal planning every single week. In my mind, meal planning benefits your health and your wealth.
Now, the way that meal planning works in our house is in 3 steps:
1) Check what we have in already. This includes checking what’s in the freezer, fridge and cupboards. Do we have anything that needs eating soon? Are there things in the freezer which have been in there a while and need defrosting and using? These need to be incorporated into the plan for this week.
2) Are there enough things in that we can make an entire meal or two from just store cupboard ingredients? Knowing what’s in your house will help; having one or two store cupboard meals a week can really keep costs down. I have written about starting a stockpile here and how to organise your stockpile here.
3) Write a meal plan for each night of the week, then write the shopping list. Remember about the things from step 1 that need to be on there – avoid food waste wherever possible! Throwing food out is a massive issue in the UK (see here and here for articles) and it costs money too. We rarely end up throwing out food, due to careful planning and management of food. This meal planner will help you plan carefully.
Now, because we’re all sorted in terms of food for the week, including breakfast and lunches, we’re less tempted to go for the dreaded takeaway during the week. If I know what I’m cooking when I get home (and all meals are interchangeable for every night of the week) and how long it’ll take me, I’m less inclined to think ‘I can’t be bothered to cook, we’ll get XYZ at the takeaway instead‘ and eat the food we already have. This means that we’re eating more healthily, as we’re cooking from scratch and we’re not paying money for someone to deliver food to our house. Plus, food from takeaways is normally much higher in fat and calories, plus in much bigger portions that necessary.
Meal planning means we can keep our weekly grocery budget between £35-£40 ($59-65) easily, without waste. We eat well on our budget and it does include everything we eat. This is for two adults who like to eat! I also do baking occasionally for treats in my husbands pack up for work.
Do you agree with me? Do you meal plan? Or are you not a fan? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!