How to Create a Meal Plan

Recently whilst having supper with the lovely Cat and Steph, Steph mentioned that she rarely ever cooks the same meal twice. WHAT! Despite having an arsenal of recipes floating around my brain, I have about 10 failsafe recipes that I turn to time and time again. Well as part of my New Year’s resolution I am going to try include new recipes into our week, and becoming more organised by coming up with a meal plan for the week ahead. This should save time and money with shopping, and ensure that we get a better balance of meals and ensure that we don’t get bored. I’m also hoping to come up with more recipes and share more of our breakfasts, lunches and suppers with you.

Here’s where I’m going to start when it comes to meal planning;

·    Organise our dry store cupboards- throwing out anything that’s out of date, and writing a list of everything I’ve got in there to stick to the doors, that way it’s a quick job to see what we have and need. I’ll then stock up on anything that we’re missing.


·    Check through our freezer, throwing out anything that is unlabelled or unidentifiable, then writing a similar list of the freezer’s goodies, adding to it anytime I put something new in there (I do not need 5 bags of soya beans!)


·   Clear out the fridge, and ensure that it’s fully cleaned every week or so.


·    Work out what balance of meals I want during the week. For me, I assume that we’ll be out at least once a week so I’ll aim to include


1 x veggie


1 x beef or lamb


1 x fish


2 x poultry


1 x pork


I realise for some this is quite meat heavy, but Tom and I both are big meat eaters, although not all recipes will be centred around the meat, and I’m planning on cutting the amount of meat per meal that we’re eating.


·    One thing that Tom and I disagree on is very carb heavy meals- I’m just not a huge fan. To keep us both happy I will ensure that one meal a week will include pasta, potato or pizza- something that he likes! I will however be trying to make more nutritious versions of these. 


·   Save recipes when I see things I like the look of, from magazine, blogs, websites, supermarkets, and note them down for future weeks


·   Write down the list of meals on a chalkboard in our kitchen so that we know what we’re having and when (bit like a restaurant!) that way if Tom gets home before me he can start cooking


·   Ensure that meals use up leftovers, or create lunches to avoid wastage. Take advantage of having the oven on by roasting extra veggies for salads or soups!


·   Use the days/nights where you have a lot of time to prepare ahead for the times where you’re short on time.


·   Try to use produce that is in season- it tends to be cheaper, fresher and more delicious! I am thinking about getting a fruit and veg box on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This is a great starting point when meal planning as you’ll know what goodies you’re getting the week before and can plan accordingly.


·   Order food online to ensure no impulse purchases- it can also allow you to see what’s on offer and adjust to fit special offers and discounts.


I’d love to try out some of your favourite recipes in my meal plans this year so please share them with me!! I’m always looking for inspiration! So, what are your go-to meals and failsafe recipes and what recipes do you think I should try out in 2014? 

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9 Comments

  1. January 2, 2014 / 8:34 am

    It’s funny, I’ve started the exact same thing both from a health and money perspective. I’ve spent the last few days batch cooking, and I’ve now got so many meals in the freezer that I can’t fit anything else in! My plan is to do this once a month and just top up once a week on fresh fruit, veggies and dairy.

    My tip? Use plenty of lentils and beans for a nutritious way of bulking out your meals. Also if you keep onions/celery/garlic and carrots in the fridge along with beans/lentils/tomatoes in the cupboard you can whip up a quick meal really cheaply!

    • January 3, 2014 / 8:10 am

      That’s great and will save you so much time- I recently threw loads out of my freezer to free up some space so will probably doing the same soon!

  2. Tricia
    January 2, 2014 / 2:33 pm

    Rather than focus on a certain protein I’ll look for a recipe for a meal type I’ve been wanting (Mexican, Chinese, Curry, Casserole, etc). I also plan for leftovers so there isn’t as much cooking in the week (because that gets old quick). Unless you take the leftovers for work or don’t like leftovers it’s a good way to save yourself some time on busy nights.

    • January 3, 2014 / 8:09 am

      That’s a great idea! I LOVE Mexican and Asian flavours so cook them a lot, sadly Tom doesn’t like coriander. Great idea for the leftovers!

  3. January 2, 2014 / 9:46 pm

    I am a bit of a creature of habit when it comes to cooking too, that or I tend to do hodge podge student type dishes!! This year I am focusing on using my cook books more and doing a cook book challenge to try at least 26 new recipes this year, and even though it’s only the second I’ve already found two delicious new dishes!

    • January 3, 2014 / 8:11 am

      Brilliant! I’m hoping to try one new recipe a week, either a recommendation, from a book, magazine or blog!

  4. January 3, 2014 / 5:51 pm

    One day I’ll show you my recipe collection, all complete with cooking notes 😉

  5. January 3, 2014 / 8:06 pm

    I do tend to have a rotation of a number of dishes which I can rely on when I’m short on time, but love trying out new recipes each week, I think pinterest is brilliant for staying organized and meal planning. I often have a big cook up day, where I make big batches of grains, beans, soups, dips and energy bars that last well for the week, any dish that makes loads of leftovers is a winner in my book too.

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