- How to plan your meals -
Meal planning is not only good for the planet, but is also good for your purse. Most family households waste the equivalent of 8 meals a week, this could save you a lot of money just by saving food!
1 : Check your diary
Write out the week ahead. How many meals are you cooking at home? How many people are you cooking for? Would you like leftovers? Be realistic – you don’t have to cook every night if you like to go out or have a takeaway at the weekend, but try to be accurate. Choose meals that are quick when you’re short on time. Save longer recipes for when you have more time.
2 : What’s in the fridge?
Take a look at what you already have in the fridge and what needs using up. Half a jar of pesto? Bendy carrots? Make a list as you go. Think about the items with a shorter life span, or that are close to the ‘Use By date.
3 : Go through your cupboards
Go through your cupboards and see what you already have. By this point, you might have some vague dinner ideas in mind. Jot these down too. If there are things in your cupboards that have been there for a while, try to incorporate them into a recipe, or find an interesting new dish.
4 : Find recipes
Find new ideas for healthy and low cost meals based on what you have, food your family enjoys, and what fits in your budget. Try to remember the Eatwell Guide when planning balanced meals. Mix up new ideas with old favourites. Which recipes will have leftovers that you could eat on a busy weeknight? Think about scaling up quantities for a batch-cook-and-freeze to save you time at a later date.
5 : Make a shopping list
Once you have your plan, go through each recipe’s ingredients list to check if there’s anything you don’t have. Do you have other ingredients you could use instead? Try and keep an open mind when writing your list, you can swap out different types of veg or meat for things you may already have at home.