We haven’t always planned our meals. On the contrary we have gone very much last minute on deciding what to cook for dinner.
Well, when furlough kicked in we decided it was time to go back to meal planning. Since the cash income had become lower, it gave us a chance to actually budget and check our spending.
It was the best choice the three of us have agreed on in ages, for a few different reasons.
First of all, you know what you are cooking every day. And trust me, it’s much more helpful than staring hopelessly at your fridge.
Second of all, as I said before, the financial reason. We have cut our food spending by almost half. We shop weekly for vegetables at our local farmers market and bi-weekly for dry goods and meats. So let’s say that instead of spending an average of £400 a month on food, we now spend a little more than £200 for three of us. Not an accurate figure, but you see what I mean.
Thirdly, it gives us variety and follows seasonality. Instead of eating over and over the same thing, we have decreased our meat consumption and tried more foods and recipes this way. Basically, we have put all those cooking books to good use.
Sounds good right? Well let me tell you how we do it.
Before you even look at the calendar, you need to gather your cooking books and some index flags. You can use one color for all, but the freak in me has planted a color system that divides meat dishes, vegetarian ones and sides. So when you look for things you have an idea of where to go.
Once you have gathered them all, read them through together with whoever you are going to cook with/for and decide what you want to try.
Read the recipes through. It’s essential, as it will give you an idea if it’s doable and the difficulty of it.
After you have all your recipes down, get your calendar and start planning. There are 3 of us, and we all have different cooking skills. We also take consideration of working days. You wouldn’t want to end up cooking lasagna after a 10-hour long workday.
We also alternate veggie/vegan days to meat days. So if on Monday you have a meat-based dish, you will go veggie on Tuesday and so on.
Normally, we try to meal plan for the whole month. Realistically, we plan for about 2-3 weeks at a time. And you want to plan at least a couple of weeks before the month starts, so you have time to shop ahead for dry goods.
If you meal plan, do you have any favourites? And if you don’t meal plan, is it in your plans?