Quite a few of the searches that send readers to the Frugal Cottage are about meal planning. A few of them are about how to start meal planning when you don’t know where to start. I have written before about how meal planing helps you to keep costs down and stay healthy.
But, how do you know where to start if you’ve never planned before?
Make a list of favourite meals.
The first thing to do is to make a list of your favourite family meals. Write down everything you like eating. It doesn’t matter at the moment if they’re simple or complicated meals, just write them down. If there are other members in your household, ask them what their favourite meals are; I’m sure they can think of plenty! Soon enough, there will be a list of at least 20 meals that can be put in rotation. This mean planner and shopping list will help you to plan properly.
Do easier meals on busier days
If there are certain days in the week which are busier than others, then plan to have easier/quick meals on those nights. In our house, Mondays are always later than normal, so by the time we get home and get sorted, the last thing I want to do is to then spend an hour in the kitchen. I always have something quick and easy to cook on Mondays, like my spaghetti puttanesca. Meal planning is meant to make your life easier!
Have a veggie night
Now, to incorporate saving money with meal planning, one of the easiest ways to do this is to have a veggie night. Lately, I have been making more vegetarian meals, so cut costs down, and they have been delicious. I have made an aubergine and lentil stew this week which was really tasty. Not buying meat everyday does cut costs. I also find that I’m trying new recipes often, which makes our meal plan more varied. I have this vegetarian cookbook which has some very tasty recipes in.
Use what you already have
Everybody has items of food in their kitchens that tend to languish at the back of the cupboards. Until quite recently, I had a surplus of chickpeas which I have now thankfully used due to meal planning. Before you start to plan your meals and write your shopping list, have a look in your cupboards. See if you can make any meals out of what you have at home already. The same with your fridge and freezer; is there anything in there that needs using?
Related post: How Meal Planning Benefits Your Health And Your Wealth
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Related post: 5 Easy Ways To Reduce Grocery Costs
What are your top tips for starting to meal plan? I’d love to hear them!
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