Thursday, 5 January 2012

Meal Planning

We did grocery shopping today for the week today, so I thought it was a good time to do a post on meal planning. I wrote my meal plan and shopping list yesterday, so I had it all ready to go today. I really don't like sitting down at the last minute and trying to think what we'll have for dinner, I prefer time to think it through and research and decide.

Years ago, I used to meal plan all the time. I actually used to plan a fortnight's worth of meals at a time and was very organised in that regard. Then, for a few reasons, I stopped meal planning and started flying by the seat of my pants and often deciding what was for dinner a day at a time. Needless to say, this used up huge amounts of my time going to the supermarket every day, wasted huge amounts of money impulse buying every day and dinner was often cooked late if I didn't get to the shops till late in the afternoon. NOT very organised at all, I'm ashamed to say.

So. I'm back to meal planning again. This time for good! 
I'm going to tell you how I go about meal planning, but it's not the only way by a long stretch! So, here we go:

I meal plan weekly now, for a few reasons. 
  1. I don't have to think up huge lists of meals at once, I do 7 at a time.
  2. I don't end up with a huge shopping list that just looks daunting (and expensive!).
  3. The fridge doesn't end up over crowded with things that might end up being forgotten or that go to waste.
  4. I can take advantage of the weekly specials, without missing the weeks in between.
What I usually do to create my meal plan is this:
  • Sit down and browse online at the catalogues for Woolworths, Coles and Big W. Big W because they often have bulk buys of laundry powder, toilet paper etc on special and I usually do my whole shopping list at the same time as my meal plan.
  • I make a note of the things like meat specials, fruit and veg specials, any items I buy on a regular basis and anything I think I'd use for meals.
  • I go through my fridge, freezer and pantry for anything that needs to be used up or for weeks when I'm on a stricter budget than others, I try to use what I already have in my pantry to save money.
  • I then think about what I want to cook for the next week. I usually choose a few tried and tested things we all love plus a couple of new and interesting things. I often trawl the Taste recipe website for inspiration and enjoy going through my cookbooks for things I've forgotten about. 
  • Once I've decided what we're eating I make a list of ingredients. I write down every single ingredient I need that I don't already have at home. So, all the things I need to buy.
  • I add these things to my shopping list.
  • I type up a meal plan, detailing what we'll be eating on each day of the week, print it out and stick it up on the fridge. This also stops me being asked a hundred times a day what's for dinner!
And that's pretty much it. I love how a meal plan takes all the guesswork out of dinner and I love how I know I have all the ingredients ready to go for each meal and can prepare ahead of time if I have a busy afternoon coming up.

Have a great evening everyone!



  1. This is definitely a good way to do it I have also strayed away in recent times from planning but its time to bring it back!!!! Organisaton, here I come!!

  2. Yay! Good to hear Jodi :) I am loving not having to think about what's for dinner each day.

  3. I'm having to do this since we are both back to work full time. My time is VERY limited now a days :)

    1. For the half an hour you spend, it saves SO much time during the week! You could even add a couple of curries or casseroles to your meal plan for the week or fortnight and cook them up on the weekend (you'll have all the ingredients because you meal planned!) then freeze them ready to be defrosted after work x