Meal Planning-How to Meal Plan

This is a concept I wish I had grasped earlier in my life; Meal Planning! Not only would I of saved a small fortune in my early 20s, ate better as a student, but also I would of become a better cook too! Since meeting my husband, I have been meal-planning, something he was dead set on and saw as a necessity. While I’m dreamy and impatient and usually chaotically decide what I want to eat a few hours before then hangrily realize I’m missing most of the ingredients, he is routine-d and consistent. I decided to take a leaf from his book and now meal planning has settled comfortably into our weekly routine and I no longer have to panic cook.

Meal Planning-Where to start?

Although I fantasize about having a beautiful notebook with allocated areas for the menu and shopping list, currently I work out of a simple cheap lined notebook. This is where I jot down the days of the week, what I plan to cook and ingredients I will need.

Cookbooks to eat from:

A few excellent cookbooks will make life much easier when it comes to deciding what you actually want to cook. The ones I use most regularly are; Anna Jones A Modern way to eat, Nigella’s cookbooks, Ballymaloe cookery course…Ideally you want a good classic tome to help you out with basics (Allen or Delia), a fantastic vegetarian cookbook (Jones) and a good varied cookbook full of flavor (Nigella for me).This will get your meal planning started although the internet also has loads of recipes for free!

How to chose a recipe:

I usually sit down on a Friday afternoon with a pile of cookbooks and my notebook and pen. I’ll have a rough skeleton of what I want to cook and eat the following week: eg. Usually we’ll have a roast on a Sunday or Monday, a curry weekly, a vegetarian day, ideally fish one day, maybe steak another and in winter always a stew on one day too. This gives me a great starting place. Now I also consider what’s in season, what’s growing in the garden and good to eat? Do we have lots of meat in the freezer? What fish is plentiful right now? Now with these boundaries, I can look up recipes that suit what I want to use. Much easier!

Making your shopping list;

Once I have put a recipe to each day of the coming week (I also add in which book I got the recipe from and the page number) I look at each set of ingredients and figure out what I already have and what I need to buy. Then those ingredients I need are divided into farmer’s market purchases or a supermarket shop. This is also a good time to evaluate what you’re running low on in the pantry and add that to the list too.

Snacks and extras:

While I only really cook an evening meal- breakfast is just a poached egg on toast and lunch leftovers and some local cheese-sometimes I’ll crave a soup or something sweet. In that case I also schedule in some other recipes or baking. Or I’ll in some olives and dark chocolate for evening snacking.

I’d love to know if you meal-plan and what your top tips are? Or if this post has inspired you to try it? Let me know in the comments below:

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