Monday, February 14, 2011

Menu Planning

I have spoken about how I do menu planning a few times on here but it only recently dawned on me that not everyone will know what I am talking about. A menu plan is basically where you plan what you will eat for the week/fortnight/however long you choose, then you can shop accordingly.

This is how I do my menu planning, but there are other ways.

Firstly I go through our cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what food we have.
Next I work out what I can make out of that and what I would need to buy to create meals.
To do this you can sit down with a calendar and work out which days you need quick meals, which days you can cook and freeze some or which days you have time for meals that take longer preparation.
Once I know what we will eat and when, I write my shopping list of the extras I will need to buy to make my menu plan. I include everything, breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and snacks.
I then take my list to the shops and buy only what I need.

Sometimes I do it slightly differently and will see what is marked down at the store first and plan my meals around that. It’s easy to do when you are used to planning meals and know what food you have at home.

That’s all there is to it. It doesn’t take long but can save you a lot of money by only purchasing what you need and minimising waste.

So this week my menu plan looks like this:
Breakfast options – cereal, yoghurt, fruit, toast, eggs, pancakes. (I don’t tend to plan breakfast for a specific day, I just have a variety of options)
Lunch options – sandwiches, fried rice, sausages and salad, pasta, platter with fruit, boiled eggs, sliced meat, cheese etc...
Dinner – Marinated ribs with coleslaw, spinach ricotta lasagne, quiche, lamb curry, minestrone soup, paprika chicken, pasta bake
Dessert – fruit salad, chocolate cake, icecream
Snacks – boiled eggs, fruit, vegetable sticks, yoghurt, biscuits, cake

Since I buy things in bulk and on special all I needed to buy this week was some milk, fruit and eggs. I keep a variety of herbs, spices and sauces in my pantry to make my own seasonings and sauces at a fraction of the cost of store bought ones. This helps keep my grocery bill down too.

There are many ways to help keep your grocery costs down and I find menu planning helps me a lot.

2 comments :

  1. Planning is such a key essential to success - I like how you have made specific priorities for each ingredient and recipe - believe me - eggs are such a priceless resource I am building my own chicken coop right now.

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  2. I find if I don't meal plan my budget goes out of control. I love to keep my meal planning with the receipt of how much I spent. This way I can select a meal plan based on how much I want to spend each week. This really helps me to budget, too.

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