Inside: Find out how to create an effective meal planning system that will work for you and your family and will help you save money and be organized with your time.
We know how important meal planning is but when it’s about doing it… eekkk, we’d rather do anything else.
Every day we need to cook to feed our family. Every day we need to come up with an idea for a dish, make sure that we’ve got all the ingredients and unless we do this ahead of time it’s always that key ingredient missing.
I’ve been in these situations more times than I can count. 4pm comes and I start thinking what am I cooking tonight but hey, you can always count on a pasta sauce, oh no I haven’t got tomato juice, ok let’s make a risotto, haven’t got any risotto rice and it goes on and on and what I do?
Well, I strap the kids in the pushchair and head to the supermarket. By the time I get to the shops I am sweat from walking so fast, out of breath and absolutely starving so I get a rotisserie chicken and a bag of fries which sets me automatically out of my weekly budget.
Everybody gets fed up with eating the same thing over and over again and in my house, everybody has different preferences. One doesn’t like any foods that are mixed together, everything needs to be separate on the plate, the foods can’t touch each other or the whole meal will be refused, one doesn’t like it when there is no sauce to the meal (literally) and one doesn’t have any teeth yet, so to accommodate all these demands I need creativity, patience and a couple of deep breaths.
My food shopping and my meal planning was a bit all over the place. I was going every day to the supermarket – an excuse to get out of the house and instead of just going for a walk I wanted to make my trip worthwhile, so I would go and buy something. At the supermarket, I would buy everything on impulse really pushing our food bill up and ended up wasting quite a lot of food that will go bad before it was even cooked.
There was no reason to buy all these random food that I thought I would cook and I would avoid food waste but also save myself some money. Easy said than done but without a system in place, you can easily fall into this trap.
HOW TO CREATE A SYSTEM
Firstly, we need to look at what you are willing to do.
There are many different ways of meal planning. From cooking in batches and freezing to making a list and shopping once per week to shopping once per month and topping up every couple of days the options are endless.
A couple of things to consider before starting a meal planning.
- How many people are in your family
- Are there any picky eaters/ allergies?
- What is your budget?
- How much time do you have available for cooking?
- Are you shopping online/ in store?
- Are you willing to cook in advance/ eat leftovers?
HOW TO SET UP A GROCERY BUDGET
It is important to consider a grocery budget before creating a meal plan. This should be calculated as part of your overall plan. If you skip this step your food shopping can easily get out of control, so take action and have a look at your income and your monthly outgoings and find out how much you can afford to spend for food.
When I set up mine I started with calculating all the expenses such as gas and electricity, mortgage/rent, insurances, and commodities and summed them up.
Consider allergies and eating organic- these extra costs can easily add up if you don’t set up a plan and stick with it, so make a note of these expenses and add them to your final amount.
I saw articles talking about allocating between 10-14% of your income for groceries and other which estimate 45$ per adult per week and 20$ per child.
Whatever your budget currently is, evaluate it and consider:
- do you impulse buy?
- do you purchase things without having a clear idea of what you will be cooking?
- do you have food that goes off before getting a chance to cook it?
- do you end up buying the same thing on multiple shopping trips and end up with doubles at home?
If you answered yes to some of these questions, we’ve got work to do.
Put together a list with:
- staple meals in your house
- quick meals (cupboard + freezer foods e.g pasta + sauce + frozen veg /frozen jacket potato + baked beans )
- meals that you wish to make in the future (e.g a binder where you gather all your recipes)
This Ultimate Meal planner includes 35+ pages to cover every aspect of your meal planning from the grocery list to conversion chart and much more.
Pantry packed full but nothing to eat?
By creating a food strategy you will be able to organize your pantry, make an inventory of your fridge freezer and use first what you have before heading to the store.
In this planner, you will receive 30 pages which include grocery lists, freezer, fridge, pantry inventory so you can make the best of the things you already have in your kitchen.
Download two of my most used pages and get started today!
SPEND TIME TO LOOK FOR RECIPES
Meal planning doesn’t have to be boring, for me, I found that it actually creates the opportunity to explore more dishes and get creative in the kitchen while ensuring that you have all the ingredients on hand ahead of time.
You can anticipate how long the meal will take you and at what time you need to start so you can be on top of the game.
I know that with my fussy eater it’s not easy to find delicious meals but I really found great success with the 5$ meal plans.
If you feel that you would like to go down the easy route (can’t blame you!) 5dollarmealplan is an excellent resource.
If you feel that all this meal planning is a bit overwhelming and too much time consuming this weekly meal plan service is the right thing for you, and let me tell you this- these meals are tasty!
These meals save me money and time while ensuring I have something healthy to put on the table for my family.
$5 Meal Plan is a weekly meal plan service that makes my meal planning as simple as possible.
For just $5 a month, you will receive a delicious meal plan where every meal will cost about $2 per person, and in most cases less. (Erin makes these meals for her family of 6 for $5 per meal!)
This will save you money, save you time, and save you the stress of having to spend hours each week planning your meals instead of enjoying quality time with your family, unwinding with your favorite show/book/beverage, or whatever else you’d rather be doing!
The meals take about 30-40 minutes to put together and are delicious, simple ingredients healthy and quite straight forward and the instructions are really easy to follow and there are only 7-5 steps altogether – real recipes for real busy moms.
What I fell in love with most was that most of these things I could find easily at my local supermarket there are no weird ingredients or some hard to find foods and the recipes are frugal.
It also includes salads and cookies and smoothies.
It comes with a complete shopping list so you can check all the items. I love that next to each item is written the respective meal where the ingredient si going to be used in case you decide not to cook one of those meals, you can cross it easily.
I know that meal planning can take a lot of focus and discipline but if you want to run smoothly your house, especially with young kids I encourage you to try and organize a plan, with your needs and your budget in mind.
If you had a couple of attempts in the past but failed, try to find out what held you back and avoid that mistake in the future.
Check out the 5dollarmeal and start your free trial today.
I would love to hear from you what was successful in your meal planning and if you managed to stick to your budget.