Meal Planning – 7 Simple Tips

Meal planning is so important with keeping on track so that you don’t look in the fridge and cupboard and freaking out. I find it’s also really important to keeping to a budget.

7 Simple Tips to Meal Planning

Meal Planning Tip #1.

Set a budget. This can be an interesting exercise to do and if you have never set a food budget before and it may take a little practice to get right. We have 4 adult sized people in our household so this is going to vary from family to family. But allocate say $200 for starters, for a family of 4 with 2 adults and 2 young children at pre-school/school. Withdraw this as cash from the bank and put it in a separate “food” wallet in your bag. Only use this for food and groceries. This may vary from week to week depending if you need toilet paper and household cleaning agents but make notes over 4 weeks on what you spend, you may go over the $200 by $50 or under by $10. After the 4 weeks are up, add all your grocery spending together and divide by 4, the result should be what you should budget each week. Use the leftover (if any lol) to buy take-out at the end of the week.

Meal Planning Tip #2.

Know what your family likes to eat. There is no point buying fish for example if no-one likes it. Although I am a fan of getting everyone to try something at least once or twice, but I do like to buy things that are at least going to be appreciated and eaten.

Meal Planning Tip #3.

Consider how much to cook and consider if the leftovers be frozen or taken to work or school the next day? Of course everyone wants to eat enough each meal and more than likely you will have enough for leftovers for lunches the next day. Leftovers is NOT a dirty work (hahahaha) I believe not eating leftovers for lunch the next day is wasteful and unappreciative. We always have leftovers for lunches and the kids beg to take leftovers for school the next day too… it sure beats soggy sandwiches.

Meal Planning Tip #4.

Make a list of the meals your family enjoys and allocate them to a night of the week. Grab your family calendar once a week preferably on the day you go food shopping and plan for each night’s meals for the week, planning also for ‘no-cook’ nights ie. Saturday and Sunday, as well. Then considering each recipe for each meal, including breakfasts and lunches and snacks, put your shopping list together of what you might need.

Meal Planning Tip #5.

Shop once a week (unless of course you can’t manage to get to the shops sooner ie. living remotely) and buy for those 7 days, but make a plan for 2 weeks and that way you can repeat your meals once a fortnight to save the boredom ie. EVERY Monday night being Spaghetti Bolognese. Try not to go any sooner than 7 days though as this may throw-out your whole plan and budget. After a while you should have a pretty good idea of your shopping list without even looking.

Meal Planning Tip #6.

Have a couple of extra ingredients “just in case” something easy like a large tin of tuna and pasta just in case you have extra guests show up or you have a change in plans.

Meal Planning Tip #7.

Have fun and be creative.

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