There is only one New Year Resolution that I have stuck to this year and it’s been meal planning. Last year I tried it and was only 50% successful thanks to a busy lifestyle and discovering the best ever kebab shop around the corner from us, thanks Just Eat! This year we have become the couple that no longer spontaneously go out for meals because “I’ve already got Tuesday’s dinner in” but you know what? I’m so secretly proud of myself for actually smashing one New Year’s Resolution.
In case you fancy becoming a hermit and eating in all winter, here are some tips to get you started along the meal planning way of life.
Plan a week ahead and know what days you are planning for.
I plan Monday to Friday mostly because weekends are usually spent having people over for dinner/eating with my family and I always do my big shop of a Sunday so pointless counting for those days. Myself and my Adam have a shared online diary which EVERYTHING goes in. If it’s not in the diary it doesn’t exist. If we have plans that evening or one of us is away, I don’t count for that night.
Stock up on staples.
I always have a good supply of staples in. I count staples as eggs, pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes, stock cubes, frozen veg, tuna, baked beans, pulses and tinned beans (kidney, butter beans etc). Just in case you need to make a last minute meal or you get a craving for tuna pasta at 10 pm at night. When you have run out of one item, add it to your shopping list (see tip 8).
Count for one meal less.
Don’t forget about those leftovers! I always cook for at least 6 people. If you’ve been for dinner at my house you know what I’m like, I’m an over feeder. I always have leftovers and my freezer is ALWAYS full of Tupperware with portions of food in.
If only Aldi did online shopping, they don’t. I shop with Ocado. Not for my main shop but for things like cat litter, cat food, boxes of Fever tree tonic water (3 for 2, I’m still drinking ones we bought last Christmas!), basically anything big and bulky I get online because I have a smart pass with Ocado and because…be arsed humping 20kg of cat litter into my shopping trolley.
BBC Good Food.
Well because what did we do before BBC Good Food? I cannot express how much I love this website. There are 1000000000000’s of recipes, Vegan? No prob! Paleo diet? Sorted! Low sugar? Gotcha! Easy to follow and tasty recipes. A lot of my weekly faves are from there and they all taste so good!
Cook from scratch.
“Cooking is my cardio”. I’ve got no idea who said this but it’s my favorite quote ever. I tend to cook 95% of my meals from scratch because I love to cook, I want to be in control of what is in my food and it’s cheaper. I learned to cook from an early age from watching my Mum and Dad in the kitchen and my Mum always gave me little jobs to do and I loved it! I make my own soups, sauces, curries, cakes, gravy, pastry, stock etc. I can cook most types of food and cuisines and I find it so much cheaper to do so. Plus, most night’s tea is made in an hour and I know what has gone in it and no surprises like hidden salt and sugar!
Sundays tend to be my batch cooking days unless I’m dying of a hangover! This is where I will try and get ahead and make lunches for the week. I will either make a soup from veg that is on the turn, divide it up into Tupperware and freeze it or I will make a vat of rice and boil some chicken breasts. Below is one of my favorite recipes as it’s low fat, healthy and filling and perfect for lunch.
Chicken and Rice salad.
Boil 6 chicken breasts for 30 mins, drain and shred chicken (think pulled pork)
Cook a load of rice (brown to be healthy), run cold water through it to cool down.
Mix chicken and rice together.
Add spring onions, tomato, peppers, red onions (anything with a bit of crunch)
Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and season.
Stir in some greek yoghurt (low fat) or some mayo.
Divide up into 5 tupperware and wack in fridge.
Lunch for 5 days done. You can try it with tuna too, it’s fit.
If I shop without a list you can guarantee I’m coming back with a bag of bananas and the entire middle aisle of Aldi. I cannot function without a list, I don’t know how my Mum does it. Well I do, she forgets EVERYTHING! I have a Google Keep shopping list that is shared with Adam so when we run out of things we write it down and it updates on both of our phones. LIFE MADE!
Go Veggie or Vegan.
Don’t worry I’m not turning into one of those Vegans who will bollock you for eating meat, I’m just saying try and eat a meat-free meal or 2 a week. It’s cheaper, it’s tasty and you will definitely be getting your 5 a day!
Have a board.
I love my board. It’s so handy seeing all the food planned for that week. It saves Adam asking me 50 times a day “what is for tea?”, plus I can see at a glance what needs prepping, what needs taking out the freezer and it brightens up my kitchen. I got mine here.
There you go, hope those tips helped. Follow me on Instagram, I tend to share a lot of recipes on there and share my food plans for the week.
Thanks for reading