Until about 6 months ago I used to just either cook whatever we had in the freezer or had defrosted or we ordered a take away if we couldn’t be bothered to cook. However as our circumstances have changed and money has become really tight we’ve had to change our attitude to food and try and cut costs and wastage, which is why I have started to meal plan.
I started to meal plan more just before Christmas and it is a great way to cut cost and waste. You can buy some great meal planning pads from Amazon or you can do what I do and make your own! Just a simple excel spreadsheet with boxes which I fill in what the meals are for that day. This then gets over typed for the following week and reprinted.
If you don’t get on with meal planning or have never tried here are my few simple steps to get you started:
- Do a stock check – I know this is really boring but you need a list of everything you have. I tend to just take stock of our freezer and tins, the fresh bits move so quickly it seems a bit pointless. When I have a full list I simply update a spreadsheet with the list and the quantity I have.
- Plan for the week/month – Depending on what I have in depends on how long i meal plan for. As I do a weekly food shop I tend to plan weekly, this makes sure that we are not buying in too much, cutting waste and doesn’t make me feel restricted to eating what we have planned for the next few weeks. Don’t forget to update you stock list though if you use any meats/tins from you stock!
- Buy in bulk & pick up offers – There is always certain foods which I will pick up when they are on offer. Especially if it is tinned or can be frozen. These include tinned tomatoes and tuna for example. I always by our meat from Musclefood and have been doing so for about 18 months. We order in a delivery every 6-8 weeks and then freeze it in portion sizes. This makes it easy to get our meat out for our meals, again cutting wastage. I have found the meat from MusleFood so much better in quality and the price is on par if not cheaper with supermarket deals.
From Monday I will be sharing our meal plan for the week and as I blog more I will be sharing our family recipe which we us on weekly basis. This year I am hoping that we will try out more recipes and the kids will learn to enjoy different things too 🙂
I would love to hear your top tips for meal planning and cutting waste.