Since starting full time work I have done my best to be a responsible adult and plan my meals each week. I am super lucky to work at a company that provides everything I need for breakfast and an amazing cooked lunch each workday, so I only really need to plan my dinners. The 6 steps below outline what I do to plan my meals on a budget each week!
Step one: plan your week
Before I start making my grocery list and meal plan for the week I always check what events I have coming up. I found that planning 5 out of 7 dinner each week works best for me because if I buy for the full 7 days I often end up with wastage. There are always nights where events come up, I’m too lazy to cook or leftovers need to be eaten.
Step two: shop your pantry
Before deciding what to eat for the week I check what is left in my pantry from the previous weeks. Whether its canned beans, pasta or left over tofu, I make sure to note these down and include them in my meal plan for the week.
Step three: change it up
I feel like the reason meal planning seems so dull is that it is so easy to repeat the same recipes over and over again. I use Pinterest to search for new, exciting recipes each week. Check out my meal ideas board for recipes on my to-try list and my tested and approved board for recipes that have made it into my recipe rotation. I also recommend having heaps of different cuisines on the menu. Lately I’ve been loving Mexican, Japanese and Vietnamese inspired dishes.
Step four: consider crossover
In order to keep the weekly menu budget friendly make sure you take into account how you will reduce wastage and use all of the ingredients you buy. This especially relates to your fresh veggies. For example, if you’re buying a full head of lettuce, make sure if one recipe doesn’t use all of it there is another recipe that can use the leftovers. Or if you make a large batch of salsa you have two recipes that use it in the week. This is such a simple step that can be easily forgotten about.
Step five: write a detailed list
I use a google excel sheet to manage my grocery list each week. I have one column for produce, one for cooled, one for aisle food and the final one to list my chosen weekly recipes. I decide the meals I want to use first and then check through the recipe when I’m adding everything I need to the list, making sure to update the quantities for duplicates.
Step six: shop wisely
Sometimes it might be best to shop around and not just shop at the grocery store. I buy my tofu from asian markets because it tastes so much nicer, comes in bigger blocks and is way cheaper. I buy my fruit and veggies from my local fruit and veggie store for the same reason. I recommend looking around and seeing
If you have any tips that I have missed, please share them below.
Thanks for reading,