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Meal planning: our lunches & dinners this week

Posted by on Monday 7 February 2011 in cooking, eating, frugal, weekly meal plans | 6 comments

We’re not very good a meal planning. We usually manage it for the three or four days following our monthly big trip to the supermarket. I know they’re a really good idea – saving money, reducing food waste etc – but we’re quite quite rubbish at anything that involves personal organisation.

Often we’ll not even think about what we want for dinner until it’s already 8pm and we’re both blood-sugar crashing. When that happens we’re more likely to turn to ordering take-in or running to the (nearby, expensive) shop for something quick – which invariably means buying something junky for dinner and spending extra money because we’re hungry and everything looks sooooo good.

Our lunches are the same – we usually don’t think about them until we need to eat and they have to be ready quickly so we can take the dog out and get back to work in good time. Lunches are a lot cheaper for us now we both work from home than they were when we were similar disorganised and worked in offices – but they rely on what we’ve got in or another trip to the expensive shop. And I think they generate the bulk of our food waste – loaves bought in or made for lunches and not finished before they go stale etc.

So here we go – my first attempt at a week’s meal plan:

Monday lunch – boiled eggs & toast (I had food poisoning or a tummy bug over the weekend and am still feeling a little delicate. This is our favourite poorly tummy food)
Monday dinner – pasta with herby sausages & peppers in a tomato sauce

Tuesday lunchspicy butternut squash soup (to be made this evening) with bread (which will need buying/making), & cheese
Tuesday dinnerspicy sausage & lentil casserole (the last of the sausages that need using up) with veg

Wednesday lunch – more spicy butternut squash soup with bread & cheese
Wednesday dinner – a difficult meal slot as I’m out until 10pm – keema achar curry (made by John last week, now in the freezer) either with rice or chapattis & naan (depending if he can be bothered making them fresh)

Thursday lunch – John will probably be out so probably just more soup & bread for me
Thursday dinner – leftover sausage & lentil casserole and veg (will need to buy something green)

Friday lunch – our random version of a ploughman’s lunch with samosas (from the petrol station … yes! I know! but strangely they’re some of the best samosas we’ve ever eaten and only 60p each!) and pickles
Friday dinner – homemade pizza – tuna & chilli, and chorizo & peppers (need to buy mozzarella)

Saturday brunch – scrambled eggs & muffins/crumpets (to buy, whichever are on offer)
Saturday dinner – spicy marinaded chicken pieces (need to buy the chicken) & rice

Right, let’s see how much we stick to it!


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. KarenV

    Good luck! We’ve been sporadic with meal planning in the past, but this year we’re really making an effort to stick with it as it makes our lives so much easier. I work from home but hate cooking and DH’s job takes him all over the place, so it makes sense to plan, plus we don’t waste as much food.

    We usually plan on Sunday so we’re ready to go for the following work week and so far, it’s working out well. One thing that helped us was to go through all our recipe books and make a note of the recipes that we knew we liked or that we wanted to try, then we made a master list that we keep in the front of our magazine recipes folder. It stops us from having the same things week in, week out – we’re not terribly adventurous sometimes :)

    • louisa

      That’s a very good idea – we’ve got an old list of things we can make somewhere — time to update and it add things we’d like to try to it too.

      Thanks for the comment, Karen :)

  2. Taphophile

    I used to plan, but it’s not really feasible at the moment. As long as there is rice, pasta and tinned tomatoes in the cupboard we usually have enough on hand for an easy meal. Our method of buying lots of grocery items when they are greatly reduced means there is always protein in the freezer and we bake pizza bases and bread to freeze as well.

    We do have a big cook on Sunday night for lunches during the week (our biggest area of frugal food fail)- quiches, curries, pasta bakes etc. We are often using up the wilty veg etc in these meals. We also freeze or allocate for lunch leftovers from evening meals in smaller portions. We cook meals that will freeze well or keep for a few days in the fridge. I always have bread in the freezer at work and a few tins of salmon and a jar of jam in my locker if all else fails.

  3. Nikki

    I have so little space in the kitchen that I have to do a weekly shop and a mid week top-up. It was chaos until I started meal planning. I tend to buy ingredients for the 7 main meals but not really plan what day to have them on as I never know if we’re going to be pushed for time, tired or whatever! The only thing I will do without fail is to turn a bolognese sauce leftovers into a chilli and stick it in the freezer to have after a few days. After a roast lunch I usually have enough leftover veg to make bubble and squeak that is lovely with cold meat and a fried egg (and some of mother-in-laws homemade pickles) – I tend to throw in some extra veg to makes sure there’s leftovers!
    And to help with the take-away cravings I love Iceland’s chinese/pub meals that can be stuck in the oven while I soak in the bath for half an hour :o)

  4. sara

    Hi louisa..i have the master meal plan..i used to post a weekly one on the notice board but got fed up of the children moaning about meals and puddings or craftily trying to change it…so now i keep it in my household book and they get what they are given lol..no complaints and to them its a surprise everynight..i love spicy food but unfortunately my hubby has a stomach condition and the tots are too small for spicy food so once a week i have a snack night..beans on toast for them and spicy curry and rice for me…

  5. Su

    I am rubbish at meal planning! I am bored of whatever I planned before I even get to it, so don’t even cook it. I’m also not good with quantities, I come from a large family & can easily cook for 10 but struggle to cook for 2, so I often end up with so much of something that it lasts for days longer than I thought, therby messing up meal planning. I never know if daughter is expecting a meal so that’s another pitfall, especially given her food intolerances. And lastly, it’s not much use me planning to have one thing and then finding out something else is on special offer! I just make sure that I have basics in, I can always create something then.

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