Updated: Jun 25, 2022
Did you have a meal plan leading up to Christmas?
Those of you who used my 2021 Christmas Planner will know that I am a Meal Planner and proud of it!!!
A Meal plan, however, is for Life not just for Christmas!!
First of all - WHY BOTHER TO MEAL PLAN AT ALL?
Less Waste - you will use up what you have in your pantry and save the planet!
Save Money - by checking on what you already own you won't repeat buy
Eat Healthier - fewer impulse buys, when you plan meals you tend to plan healthier ones.
Save Time - no more dithering over what to have for your meals!
Gives you Control - you will feel that you have control over what you and your family are eating.
I have an updated Inventory, Meal Plan and Shopping List set in my Etsy shop available now, for those of you who like to have something to work from - but all you need is a pen and paper and you are away!! The set I have produced breaks the inventory down into sections, so that you can put a description of what it is, the quantity and also make any notes. The whole set is in black and white to save on ink and as you read on you can see that you only need to print the sections you need after your initial inventory is made. I encourage you to take a look it is less than £4.00 and once bought it is yours forever!!
There are 3 steps to my meal planning. Let's take a closer look:
This is the most important step! But so many people don’t do it!
It undoubtedly is easier to decide what you want for tea tonight and buy the ingredients for that meal - but so much food is wasted by not checking what is in your own ‘food shop’ that it is affecting the planet - and none of us need that guilt do we?!
What have you got in your fridge, freezer and food cupboards / pantry / other storage area?
When I do an inventory I log the item, quantity and where it is. You could also include the use by date on your inventory if you want to.
WHAT? This sounds like a huge job! Well I can't deny - if you have a lot of food in different places (maybe you have a stockpile) - the first time you do it, it is worth setting aside a decent amount of time and recruiting someone to help you.
It can take a couple of hours for your first inventory - you could even split it over a weekend -
If you can recruit a willing partner, split the job with one of you going through the different locations and the other filling in the inventory list.
As you move through each area this first time, remove anything which is out of date or which you know you won't eat ( if it is in date and unopened take to a food bank or see if anyone you know could use it). You could also take this opportunity to arrange your storage areas to make things easier for you in the future by putting like items together. If this is a step too far at this stage just get on with the inventory - your cupboards will all fall into place as you continue to use this system to plan your meals and use up your food stocks.
Once you have set up your initial list it is just a question of looking through it each week and crossing out items you have used and adding in items you have purchased.
My inventory lists will last 3 - 4 weeks before I need to write them out again. The items which last a long time - spices, condiments etc don’t really need to be updated as long as you keep a note of any which run out, and keep a check on use by dates.
I am a pen and paper girl but if you prefer to use a spreadsheet this would be very easy to keep up to date and I am sure there are many apps which would do this job!
You may find that doing this weekly is the best way for you to keep on top of your food stocks - maybe you decide to do it less frequently - whichever way you decide to go I would encourage you to give it a try because after the initial one it can be life changing!
Taking your completed lists you can now create the beginnings of a meal plan.
See if you can make any complete meals using the ingredients you already have.
If you need to buy an item to complete a meal, begin adding to your shopping list.
This stage is aiming to use as much as you can of what you already have in stock to create your meals without purchasing anything else.
As you do this you can create your meal plan for the week. Where you don’t have enough ingredients you can plan meals from scratch.
You now have an idea of what ingredients you need to buy to flesh out your meals.
Create your list from your meal plan, add those items you need to complete meals and to fill out your meal plan.
Throughout the week you can keep a running list of non-food items you need to buy - don’t forget to add these to the final shopping list.
All the items on your list should now be top up items to finish off your meal plan and any items needed in addition to make meals from scratch plus non-food items you have seen which need to be replaced over the week.
One final step —--- DON’T FORGET TO TAKE YOUR SHOPPING LIST!!!
How many times have you been so well prepared - shopping list planned, shopping bags all together - only to get to the shops and realise you have left them at home on the kitchen counter??!! I know I have done it!!
But this is no longer us, is it?!!
Give it a go - the link to my Inventory, Meal Planner and Shopping List Set is below - download it or get a pad of paper and a pen and see how life changing this process can be!!
You can comment below ↓↓ or look at the end of the blog for all the ways you can contact me privately. I love hearing from you with all your ideas and photos of the areas you are working on!!
If you want to delve deeper into finding a ‘system’ which will work for you, you can contact me via my email firstname.lastname@example.org or using the chat bubble on my website, I would love to help you!
You can message me on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Linda-J-Harper-Professional-Declutterer-and-Organiser-107805011001601.
I am also on Pinterest and Instagram if you need some inspiration! https://www.pinterest.co.uk/adnilenaj1314/boards/