How to Meal Plan

Hi I'm Helen - Chris's better half and the 'always right' one of our household! Since I finally got Chris on board with meal planning life seems so much simpler. I'd love to share with you how we do our meal plans (note: we just plan out our evening meals since we're such creatures of habit when it comes to breakfasts, snacks and lunches - I just have the 'staples' for those on my shopping list week in, week out.)

This is how we meal plan in our household (for evening meals);
  • Pick a day each week to sit down and plan out meals for that week, and create your shopping list based on that plan - make it routine each week. I always plan out our meals on Tuesday so I can shop on Wednesday on my way home from work
  • Take stock on what you have in your fridge, freezer and pantry that needs to be used up
  • Sit down (with your partner or family if possible) and think about what meals you'd like, and consider meals that will use food you already have that's close to it's expiration date. Use cookery books, the internet and (my personal favourite!) Pinterest for inspiration. I also keep a list of our 'family favourites' - those go-to meals that we can cook with our eyes closed if I'm lacking inspiration. At this point double-check your calendar to make sure there are no events or activites you have planned that will interfere with your 'at-home' meals
  • For our household I typically plan out 1 red meat meal, 1 chicken meal, 1 fish meal and at least 2 vegetarian meals. I normally keep 1 'spare' day - for eating out or having a potluck supper with leftovers from the week
  • Once you have your meals planned out, go through each recipe and check your ingredients - anything you don't already have in the fridge, freezer or pantry needs to go on the shopping list
  • What we find particularly key in our house is that we plan for a week, not a day. We both found that setting a particular day to eat a partuclar meal was way too regimented for us (well Chris did!) Now we usually text each other sometime during the day to decide what 'we fancy' that night! - and we usually have up to 6 'choices' to pick from knowing that everything we need to cook for any one of them is already at home ready to go.
  • It's that simple!
Remember everyone is different and this is what works for us - you need to find what works for your family. Good luck and thanks for letting me share my version! Feel free to leave a comment to let me know your own hints, tips and methods - I'd love to hear them!

You can usually find me blogging over at Most Sundays I join with my friends who host Menu Planning Challenge blog link up - it's a great place for a little extra inspiration and motivation to stay on track! Funnily enough Laura is also studying with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition on the same course as Chris!


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