I’ve been meal planning for years, inspired by some friends who did it. It seemed a good way to vary what we ate and not waste food. I also tend to get a bit flummoxed around 4pm and forget every meal I’ve ever cooked and then have a panic and throw some fish fingers in!!!
So, every Sunday I sit down, have a look at what’s in the cupboard and needs using, and do my meal plan. We do a big shop once a month at Aldi, then top up with fresh veg and the odd thing from local shops where we can, the less time I have to spend in a supermarket the better and we have found this way to be cheapest for us.
For recipe inspiration I use Pinterest (I’m @anySomething on there) and my big collection of recipe books but if you’re feeding a family my top buys would be: Save with Jamie, the River Cottage baby and toddler cookbook (even though mine are no longer really toddlers or babies!), Yeo Valley Great British Farmhouse Cookbook and Dean Edwards Feelgood Family Favourites.
The BBC GOOD FOOD website is also pretty amazing.
I try to have one or two meat free meals each week and vary our meals over the week and month to be balanced. I also keep my eldest’s school dinner menu in front of me – the poor boy has been known to eat spag bol twice in one day because I didn’t look when I was planning! I still give him an evening meal at home so I can guarantee he’s eaten well.
On the days I work, my mum gives the children their tea, so I cook extra for ours the night before and save it for them. I also batch cook a lot: chilli, spag bol, Mac n cheese, home made pizza, chicken and pesto parcels, pasta bakes, home made burgers, kofta and fishcakes all freeze really well (top tip: label and date! Lakeland do great freezer labels for this!).
The board itself was an old antique frame which we painted with matt grey paint and backed with mdf painted with blackboard paint. And I use a chalkboard pen, removed with magic sponge each weekend. Over on instagram you’ll find all the boards on the hashtag #mealplanningwithlaura. The children now love knowing what’s for dinner by reading the board and my eldest sometimes helps me plan and write it!
I may post the boards each week on here with one featured recipe if there’s any interest?!
I hope this has been useful!
Sausage tray bake recipe here
Honey, mustard and creme fraiche chicken recipe here