Meal Planning - how do you do it?

After reading posts on the O/S board,we have decided that we should be using some sort of meal planner,so i can do the shopping without wasting food.

I would like to know what others do? do you have a weekly menu stuck to the fridge? do you keep a mental note of what meals you will be cooking the following week?

Any tips would be gratefully received.
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  • wigginsmum
    wigginsmum Posts: 4,150 Forumite
    I have various systems - one is to type up menus for a fortnight and shop accordingly, taking into account who's around on which evenings, and pinning a copy to the fridge door so we can see what's happening and what needs to be taken out of the freezer. Just recently though I've bought meat in bulk from Costco - several pounds of lamb chump chops, chicken thighs, minced beef, and split it into portions. Some I've frozen as they are, others I've cooked in bulk in the crockpot and refrozen in portions, like chicken korma and bolognese sauce. Next stop for me is to sort through the cupboards and note Use By dates on tins and packets, then incorporate them into the planning over the next couple of weeks.

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  • I use a card from my card-index file, and go through my Delia Smith basic recipe books. Then, keeping to my £40 limit, I plan the meals--dinner, and main course only, and write them on the card.

    Pin this to the notice board, and shop accordingly.
  • We spend 20 mins working out four/five meals we want to cook that week. We don't do it to budget as such but by shopping to a plan and only get the ingredients you need we seem to come in at budget.

    The sixth and seventh day of the week we leave open to cook with left overs from the previous meals.

    You have play about when there's just two of you 'cause you always tend up end up with too much of cetain things so to speak.
  • We just have a rotating fortnightly plan - not rigid, as it's mostly used to remind me of what we eat when I have no idea what to cook! :) Also, we don't want to be too rigid and can't get excited about always having x on a y-day ... IYSWIM ;)

    My only other "must have" is an inventory of what's in the freezer so I can see if there's a portion or two of soup, or pasta sauce, or stock etc that can be pressed into service when I'm lacking inspiration! Is that sad, or what?
    Warning ..... I'm a peri-menopausal axe-wielding maniac ;)
  • Ronankfan
    Ronankfan Posts: 707
    First Anniversary
    I try and menu plan once a week and only buy what i really need (unless it is a bargain of course) and sometimes double what i am making e.g cottage pie so i have one in the freezer in case i dont feel like making anything from scratch one night.
  • I should also mention that I only go to the supermarket once every three months and even then I only buy tins and dry goods
    Warning ..... I'm a peri-menopausal axe-wielding maniac ;)
  • Hi

    I menu plan for 9 days and try and find 2 days (buy for 7 days-2 days free IYKWIM) of free food :rolleyes: leftovers, stretching the roasts, egg & chips, bits needing using in fridge/freezer or just an omelette/something very basic that I know I have the ingredients for already.

    I dont know if Ive explained that clearly..LOL.

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  • flea72
    flea72 Posts: 5,392
    First Post Combo Breaker First Anniversary
    how do you plan for accompaniments though, like veg, etc.

    i seem to get on ok with planning the actual main part of the meal, but then find ive allocated all my spuds, and have to find something that goes with rice/pasta instead iyswim. or weve had a week of rice/pasta dishes and ive now got lots of veg left that need eating up

    also my biggest problem is i never really know how many of us will be eating, until i come to prepare the meal. usually its just me and OH, but sometimes the kids dont have tea at the grandparents, so that means they want to eat with us, when they come home, so on a day ive planned for 2, i end up with 3 or 4.

    i have tried doing menus, which have meals for 2, 3 & 4, and then pick accordingly, but it just doesnt seem to work, i always end up borrowing part of the 'main' from another day, as in, ive allowed for 2 pies but now have to borrow an extra pie from next weeks allotted 2 pies, leaving me with one spare pie. does that make sense?

    or is it not possible for me to plan meals everyday, with our lifestyle?

  • thriftlady_2
    thriftlady_2 Posts: 9,128
    Combo Breaker First Post I've been Money Tipped!
    edited 29 December 2009 at 1:53PM
    What about not meal-planning? ;)
    I know I'm a bit unusual on this forum in not planning meals, but I find my Storecupboard System works best for me.

    Basically, I have a list of all the things I like to have in my cupboards, freezer and fridge. For example I have tuna, tinned tomatoes, baked beans, corned beef, rice, pasta, lentils and dried beans in my cupboards, plus spices, soy sauce, oil etc. In my freezer I have peas, sweetcorn, mince, whole chickens (some jointed)sausages, pitta bread and HM bread. In my fridge I always have bacon, cheese, eggs, butter and seasonal fruit & veg. Every week I buy a couple of kinds of fish, say, coley and mackerel. I also have a baking cupboard in which I keep flour, sugar, baking aids and dried fruit. In the garage I have a 20 kilo bag of spuds.

    This system ensures that I always have the makings of a meal in the house. I am not bound by a plan that I might not want to follow, and it means I can make meals which use up the fresh stuff I've bought that week before it goes off. Also, I am able to take advantages of special offers when I see them which might not necessarily fit in with a menu-plan. If something like tinned tomatoes is on special offer I buy lots and lots and then none for months. It also allows me to cater for different numbers and to use up leftovers efficiently.

    So, basically I shop for my storecupboard and not for a menu-plan. It works for me, it might work for you. :)
  • I should also mention that I only go to the supermarket once every three months and even then I only buy tins and dry goods

    Every three months, I'm every three days! :rotfl:
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