I’ve been talking about doing a walk through of my meal planning for a while and today I’m finally doing it!
It’s going to be a quick tour of the two different ways I meal plan each Sunday (that’s when I plan my week, and order my food shopping) and how I use two of my Filofaxes to do it.
Step one – what days do I need to plan for?
As I make plans I tend to add them to a post it note and pop them in the day it’s going to happen, as a placeholder until I come to properly plan the week. When I sit down to meal plan I review these post its and also add in anything that’s a regular event (such as climbing) that will impact whether I need to plan a meal or not. I tend to just have a snack after climbing, rather than a full meal so it’s one less day I need to buy meal ingredients for. Looking at the week above, I need to plan for five evening meals. I then take a notebook and make a list of those days that need a meal.
Step two – what meals?
This is where my second Personal Original Filofax comes in – there’s a section called ‘recipes’ which doesn’t so much have actual recipes/methods but a list of ingredients required to make most of our usual weekly meals. Some of these ingredients lists are pretty basic but I have a memory like a sieve and if I don’t list absolutely everything I need, I won’t check the cupboards to make sure I’ve got it all.
When I know how many meals I need I flick through this section and make a note of what I want to cook each day. As I do that I check how many of the ingredients I have in the kitchen and start a list of what I need to order from the supermarket. I won’t necessarily buy all the things in the list (one week I may decide I don’t want asparagus wrapped in parma ham for instance) but these lists give me a good starting point.
Once I have that meal shopping list, I add in all the other things I need from the supermarket that week – work lunches, snacks, milk etc, things that generally don’t change (I’m boring and have the same thing for lunch every day at work).
Step three – when to eat what meal?
Once all that is done I tend to plan my week in full – adding in when the food shop is being delivered and which meals are planned for which day.
If my week is a little less certain, or there’s day a I think we might end up eating out for various reasons I still do everything above, but instead of writing out each meal in each day I add a post it note into my weekly set up with a list of meals I can make with what we have in the kitchen.This will include anything I’ve ordered for the week, along with anything else I know we have in (I tend to keep things like scampi and fishcakes in the freezer for quick and easy meals). This is this week’s list and quite short as I did last week’s shop late due to being ill and these are the meals left over. I’m also away for the weekend and so between that and climbing I’ll only be cooking three times this week.
As I make these meals I’ll write them in the planner, mark them off and then move the list over to next week – anything I haven’t used will get carried over into next week’s meals.
So now you’ve seen my weekly meal planning routine that I’ve been doing for two months now and it’s been working pretty well for me. I’d like to say I’ve saved money but looking over my old budgeting sheets I’ve saved some, but not huge amounts. I have however definitely been eating much better and relying on pizzas and the like a lot less. The next bit I really need to do it meal planning lunches at the weekend. It’s something I tend to overlook and meals we usually end up eating out or grabbing something not so great from the local shop.
If you meal plan and have some great tips or tricks please let me know in the comments below!