I have been meal planning for years now and I have to say it not only has made meal times more simple for me as a busy mum, but has also kept the reigns on the grocery budget. Any week I have not done my meal planning has lead to many scrambled nights of not much, takeaway and extra $$$ spending. Going to the grocery store blind I tend to over spend, as I’m not keeping track of things I already have and tend to buy with my stomach rather than my brain! Lol lol lol
So What Is Meal Planning ?
Basic Meal Planning is pretty simple. Simply you plan out all your main meals for the week/fortnight BEFORE you do your grocery list & budget. By doing meal planning you save time each day deciding what you are going to make & you save $$$ in the grocery budget from not overspending.
Basic Meal Planning Steps:
There is a more that can be done within Meal Planning to really make it beneficial to you and your family. As VIP Members you have access to my 'Meal Plan With Me' videos to see different parts of what I do to really achieve the best result possible. What I personally do can look overwhelming when you first see, BUT there is opportunity for you to just start out with basic steps first.
For those of you just starting out and not wanting anything too overwhelming, here are some basic steps to take to get you started ...
Step 1. Get Your Plan Ready - Take out your Meal Planning Sheet – or try This Mum At Homes Monthly Meal Planner Pack to get you started. - remember as VIP members you get this free using the current discount code.
Step 2. Look At What You Already Have – Go through your pantry, fridge and freezer to see what ingredients you already have to make meals & snacks.
Step 3. Plan Meals & Snacks From Existing Ingredients – Plan the meals & snacks you can make from the ingredients you already have and write them into days of the week that they will best suit according to your daily plans and activities.
Step 4. Plan New Meals – On the days you have left come up with meals & snacks you would like on each day, again keeping in mind your daily plans & activities you have scheduled. These are meals & snacks you may need to still buy ingredients for that you do not already have.
Step 5. Write Your Ingredients List – Don’t forget to write what ingredients you need that you do not already have onto your Grocery List & Budget sheet.
Step 6. Things To Keep In Mind -
- Be flexible - Be flexible with your meals. If you need to shift things around because plans have changed on a particular day then do so. However do try and just 'swap' days rather than coming up with new meals otherwise you may end up spending extra money where you don't need to.
- Have your regular theme days to make things easier with planning eg Pasta Monday, Taco Tuesday, Fish Friday, Sausage Saturday …
- When you have done your groceries, cook multiple meals at once and freeze where you can. This will make dinner time even more simple and stress free. More time for other fun things!
- Don't look at catalogues until AFTER you have planned from what you already have. That way you will initially only write the things you actually need on your grocery list first to ensure you are in budget.
- If you have a child at school or you pack work lunches you can use this Lunch Box Meal Planning sheet.
I expand more on this in my fortnightly Meal Plan With Me videos , but this is basic meal planning in a nutshell. It's very simple once you start and get the hang of things. More organised in this area means time for the fun things we really want to do!