How I Meal Plan Successfully

on April 24, 2017
Recipe Book Wish List | Essential Twenty

I flipping love recipes books (can you tell from that image above? You can see less than half of my cookbooks in that). I spend a lot of my free time flicking through these books and food magazines for inspiration, and I try to cook at least one new meal per week. Whilst I still live with my parents, I am responsible for the food shopping and cooking in this house and therefore I meal plan. And I’ve got pretty good at it!

When I moved in with Jack last year, I used Anna’s tips for meal planning which is a fab starting point (she’s also got a video all around meal planning and an updated post – she’s queen of meal planning to me). Now, I’ve devised my own way of meal planning and I use the same method!

Put Together A Recipe Collection

So I did say that I have a lot of cookbooks and you don’t need anywhere near the number that I have. However, I think it’s important to have a collection of recipes, both tried and tested, and ones you want to try. If you don’t have inspiration, you may end up either getting bored or being lazy with your cooking.

This can be by collecting supermarket magazines (Tesco put out a free magazine each month which I always pick up, and it’s full of recipes) or the cards they give out, picking up a few second hand recipe books from charity shops, or by pinning recipes on Pinterest. I’m also a big fan of the BBC Food site as you can search by ingredient.

Plan Your Meals

Each week, I work out what is still in the fridge/freezer/cupboard and write this on the back on my shopping list. I use the That Lame Company Meal Planner Notepad which is ace for this as it is blank on the back (I got mine in the Spring Box of Lame but it is sold separately). I then pick out recipes that use the ingredients that I aready have in the house. If I have a lot of pasta, I go for pasta based meals. If I have a ton of veg to use, ratatouille is always an easy side or main. You’ve got to get creative if you want to save money!

Write down who is in and out on each day of the week, how long you’ll have each evening to cook (don’t be over ambitious) and then get to planning. I tend to plan for Monday-Friday as we quite often pop to M&S at the weekend to pick up enough bits to get us by.

How I Meal Plan Successfully | Essential Twenty

I tend not to plan lunches as my mum does her own thing, my dad has the same thing every day so I don’t have to think about it, and I just have leftovers from the night before. This is another great tip for saving money – make an extra portion or two and save it for the next day!

Write Your Shopping List & Get Your Food

The front of the TLC Shopping List has space for meals at the top, then large sections underneath for the produce you need to buy. I love this list! Don’t forget breakfast, lunch and snacks either. Something that did take me a long time to get used to was not buying too much fruit a veg. It’s only going to be suitable for eating for so long, so don’t over do it!

When you go to the supermarket (or do your online shop), try to stick to the plan as best you can. There’s no point in planning to save money then ruining your goals by getting too swept up in the offers!

Know About Storage Conditions

There’s nothing more frustrating that spending a ton on groceries and then them going off before you get chance to use them. I try to use all my fresh veggies just after my food shop, and my frozen ones or more hardy ones like carrots nearer the end of the week. I buy a lot of meat fresh, and then freeze it as I find pre-frozen meat has a lot of added water. There are lots of tips when it comes to storing food; you just have to google it! This will also hugely reduce your shopping bill, and you won’t be binning anywhere near as much food.

My Biggest Tip

So my number one tip around creating a successful meal plan each week is to take time to do it!

If you want some more tips then my favourite other posts about how people meal plan are listed below:

Meal planning saves you money, time, and often calories in the long run. Whilst I’m an advocate for eating what you want, I know that a lot of people are trying to get bikini body ready for the summer (I know I am now that Easter is over) and meal planning can definitely help you be a little more strict with your food choices. It’s worth taking a 30 minutes a week to do it! Embrace the meal plan revolution.

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  • I love spending an hour or so on the Sunday preparing myself for the week ahead and making myself a shopping list, I then usually head to the supermarket on the Monday!

    Alice | alicemaysnell

    • Sunday is the best prep day for all your life – pamper, get your food sorted and give everywhere a good tidy x

  • Sophie

    So glad I found this post! I’m wasting a lot of time and money buying stuff every day at the moment (I live basically next to a supermarket) and struggling to break the cycle. Time to jump on the meal planning bandwagon (and also that meal planner notepad is diviiiiine!).
    Sophie xxx
    http://www.sopharsogood.com

    • I think the hardest thing is breaking the cycle. My best advice is to write a list of products that you already have in the house and try to make do for a week to use anything up that needs it. Then the next week, shop from scratch. I find this the easiest thing for me to do when I get out of sync x

  • I usually last 2 weeks with meal planning then once my monthly shop starts dwindling I give up haha.

    Hayley @ Tea Party Beauty

    • I was like that at uni. I used to order for the month but after two weeks the fruit and veg was off and I gave up until the next shop. I should’ve learnt! x

  • xkatiemiddleton

    Oh my god I can’t believe your cookbook collection! We try to bulk buy alot of meat from the butchers or if it’s on offer in supermarkets and then freeze it. Then it’s just a case of finding the add ons for the meal. I love meal planning though!

    • It’s almost as bad as my skincare and makeup collection haha! I definitely think that finding accompaniments for meals more difficult than choosing the main x

  • I love cooking and finding new healthy things to make, although I tend to make them up! I have a board on Pinterest for recipes but I dont even look at it. I only ever buy food for the next 3/4 days in advance as like you said – fruit and veg only lasts so long. I like to freeze my fruit though and then use it to make smoothies when ever I want 🙂 xx

    Cally | xcallyloves.blogspot.co.uk

    • If I made smoothies then freezing fruit would definitely be the way forward for me! x

  • xkass

    I always try preparing my meals on Sunday it makes it so much easier to do the food shopping too. I want to get some new food ideas. Putting together a Recipe collection is a good idea! X

    • Pinterest is fab for new food ideas. And you can search by ingredient on the BBC Food site which I use a lot for foods I love but want to inspo for x

  • ofbeautyand

    I wish I was this organised with meals but I’m not! x

    http://www.ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk

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