I have been quite sporadic with meal planning over the years but this year I am pledging to take a much more committed approach to meal planning and shopping.
Proper meal planning can be beneficial in so many ways when you have a very small food budget.
- making a list and STICKING TO IT saves money
- stops last minute 'what shall we have for tea' panic
- Roo is getting older and has a far bigger appetite these days so healthy meals that fill his tummy are essential!
- reduces waste to an absolute minimum
I have to mention here that the Other Half is the ultimate fussy eater and has a very limited range of foods he likes that consists mainly of breakfast cereal, bread, cheese, beans, tomato soup, pizza, pasta, minced beef, potatoes and sausages. Over the years I have given up trying to change his eating habits - if he doesn't want to eat healthily then there is very little I can do about it. I do try and slip the odd bit of fruit and veg in where I can. He does like apple pie or crumble and I can add carrots, onions and peppers to a basic tomato pasta sauce - pureed, obviously. ( Honestly it's like feeding a baby! )
To be fair it could be worse, he could be one of those people who insists on meat and two veg and a proper pudding every day or a wannabe gourmet which would definitely be a challenge on the £5 a day for the three of us that I have to spend*
Luckily, for now at least, Roo follows me when it comes to food and is happy eating most things (although he IS getting fussier as he gets older and I do have to scold daddy for belittling broccoli when I am trying to get Roo to finish his dinner!
After checking through my cupboards and freezer to see what we actually have I made this simple meal plan for next week...
OH - Left over Turkey pie and mash from Sunday
Us - Haddock and Corn Chowder
OH - Cheesy Beans on Toast
Us - Homemade mini veggie burgers with salad/coleslaw
OH - Cream of Tomato soup and fresh bread rolls and cheese
Us - Homemade vegetable soup with fresh bread rolls and cheese
OH - Sausage, chips and beans
Us - Meatballs in tomato & veg sauce with pasta
OH - Pizza
Us - Scramble eggs with tomatoes and spring onions on toast with beans if we're hungry!
Is OH's birthday so we will be getting a takeaway - this is not in the budget and will probably cost us around£15 but it's not your birthday everyday...
I will be making a chocolate birthday cake and that IS included in my budget
Shepherds pie with baked beans for OH and carrots and peas for us
Lunches are mainly cheese and pickle sarnies for OH; tuna/cheese/peanut butter sarnies, yoghurt and a homemade muffin or some dried fruit for Roo's school lunchbox (except on Fridays when he has school dinners coz it's always fish and chips and I KNOW he'll eat it!) and left overs from the day before for me (exciting huh?)
Breakfasts are simple - cereal or porridge and toast with orange juice (one of those 5 a day!)
I have made a shopping list and am planning on shopping locally every couple of days (again to eliminate waste). Sticking to the list is the most important part of this exercise and the part I shall probably find the most challenging but I will let you know how I get on next week!
Do you plan your meals every week? How easy do you find sticking to the plan?
If you don't meal plan already, would you like to? Why not join me giving it a go in 2014 and see if it changes your attitude to food and shopping? You might be surprised by how much money you save or how much better you are eating!
*and yes that does include other essentials like toilet roll, washing liquid etc. These have to be factored in when planning weekly shopping list.