Friday, 25 January 2013
Happy Friday Tea
Hello. Hope you've had a good week with not too much Januaryness about it.
This is not the best blog to read if you are trying to save money. There are some far better examples about like here , here and here. But I have learnt that menu planning before you do your weekly shop can help to save you time, money, stress and make you more aware of your everyday diet.
My approach to menu planning
The best place to start is with checking your fridge, freezer and food cupboards a day or so before you intend doing your weekly shop or having an online delivery. Any food that is close to its best before date can be incorporated into the next week's menu plan. Then check your diary and family schedule and plan meals that fit in with your schedule. There is no point planning elaborate meals if you have too much on.
I try to balance the menu so that it allows for family favourites and also special favourites of each of our boys (one loves pasta the other isn't keen, one likes spicy food the other doesn't). We usually spend more time planning our weekend food because we have more time to cook and linger over meals then. Within the week we each take our turn at cooking and encourage the boys to cook sometimes.
One of the hardest things about menu planning is coming up with seven different meal ideas each week. We have tried and tested favourites and usually rotate them on a fortnightly basis. However, we still get stuck occasionally and that is when we might try something new or think back to a meal we haven't had in a while. Sometimes I only plan six meals and then find I can usually put together a seventh meal with leftovers.
Once you have come up with seven days of meals you can then start compiling your shopping list or order. Like most ways of saving money menu planning can feel like a chore in the beginning but it soon becomes a natural habit. Several years ago I only planned meals in my head and on a daily basis which was a lot more stressful. Planning a menu a week ahead means there are no last minute decisions to be made and less panic trips to the shops. Also, by discussing and planning your menu one person is not solely responsible for the family's diet which I think is a good thing. Having the menu on display somewhere in the kitchen also helps and stops the endless "What's for tea?" conversations. And an added bonus is that knowing what's coming up on the menu means that you can spend all day (or all week) looking forward to something tasty (curry for me).
You can see our forthcoming week's menu in the photo above. Not the healthiest menu just an ordinary family menu. Tonight is 'Happy Friday' - we are off to my parents-in-law for tea which is something we do every few weeks. So a surprise supper tonight and an easy week to menu plan. The only thing that is home cooked will be Sunday's chiili (using quorn) and I will make more than we need so that a portion or two can be popped into the freezer.
Hope you have a great weekend and some great food too.