Simplify Meal Planning to Save Money and Reduce Food Waste!

Having a list when grocery shopping will save you money (if you stick to the list) and to write your list you do need to meal plan.We all know we should meal plan, but it can be a lengthy process if like me you are drawn to the hundreds of delicious recipes in cookbooks or Pinterest or maybe you do meal plan but feel like all that means is the same meals over and over and over again. Either way these few tips can help you simplify you meal planning, while keeping variety and reducing waste:

Know your week

Whether you choose to write it down or put it all in to your phone, get to know what your families week looks like. What time are people finishes work, after school clubs and what are your plans for your days off? This stops you planning a roast dinner when actually what that day really needs is a 15 minute pizza in the oven. This will certainly reduce the amount of food you throw away as on the busy night you won’t have wasted the meat or veg and you also won’t need to reach for a takeaway menu.

Different theme for each day

A different theme is a great way to narrow meal options down. With set themes each day it will also keep meals varied so no more getting bored. I personally try to cook a new meal once a week but all the others are tried, trusted and loved meals.

Example –

  • Monday – Slow Cooker
  • Tuesday – Taco/Mexican
  • Wednesday – New
  • Thursday – Italian
  • Friday – Leftovers
  • Saturday – Family (children’s choice)
  • Sunday – Roast

Remember to use this loosely as if you become so rigid that on Wednesday you need to cook a new meal but your son has a football match then you are putting more pressure on yourself and this is all about simplicity.

Favourite family meal document

Families all have their favourites, some of ours are spaghetti Bolognese, tacos or chicken curry to name a few. By having them all written down in one place it is an easy go to list when you sit down to plan. Don’t worry about it being pretty or typed, handwritten on a plain piece of paper will work just fine. Sit down with your family and find out their favourites.


Recipes Folder

I enjoy a cookbook as much as the next person but I always found that I would spend an hour look through them to find something we may want to try. So I got rid of them all, I wrote down our favourites out of them and those we still wanted to try. I then gave my cookbooks away. I now have a ring binder that holds all our family favourites and recipes we have found from magazines, library cookbooks and Pinterest that we would like to try.

This folder then gets pulled out to pick my one new meal a week which now takes a few minutes to choose and I also use it to ensure I have written down all the ingredients I need for a weekly meals.

What meal planning looks like for me

  • I sit down and plan the week, I personally write it down in my diary but I have a clear plan of the week.
  • I then add a theme to each day based on what time we have to make food.
  • I add all our family favourites to my meal plan based on the themes.
  • I look through my new meals in the recipe folder and pick one.
  • Write my shopping list.

REMEMBER: Breakfast, lunch and snacks this will stop you popping back to a shop and spending more.

TIP: Have a notepad or white board attached to the fridge where you and your family add other items that have run out through the week.

COMMENT: I am always trying to improve the way I food shop share your tips below.

Simplify your meal planning to save money and reduce food waste. Meal planning is essential when on a budget or aiming to be more frugal.



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