It may or may not come as a surprise to you, but I DON’T MEAL PLAN. I know this seems a little strange, I have tried it, it was ok, but it just didn’t work for us and these are the five reasons why it didn’t work. I asked our Facebook community if they meal planned or not and there were many that had the same reasons as I did. You can read them all here.
5 Reasons Why I Don’t Meal Plan
1. It cost me more. When I have tried to meal plan I would pick meals to make but it would mean buying a certain herb or vegetable etc to make that meal so I would end up spending more just to make a meal.
2. The family ends up not wanting what was is planned for the night when it comes around. You can’t predict what you are going to feel like 6 nights from now.
3. It stops you from getting creative. I enjoy grabbing what’s in the fridge and cupboard and putting together a meal. Being creative and working with what you have is the way to use up alot of the little bits and pieces you have in the fridge and save you money. Did you know you can search by ingredients right here on the blog? Right up the top right is a search bar. Pop in the ingredient you have like chicken, pumpkin etc and it will show you all the recipes that use that ingredient.
4. You waste more. If you have bought ingredients for a specific recipe that can’t be used for something else before they go bad than you aren’t actually saving money.
5. It takes a lot more time to sit down and decide what to cook for a week in advance. I may spend about 5 minutes looking in the fridge, freezer or pantry each day to see what ingredients need using and decide from there.
You will even find that more likely than not, you will be able to eat leftovers for one night and not have to cook at all.
What I do prefer to do is base my meals around what I have bought for the week which is heavily reliant on what’s on special that week.
The reason I do this is:
It saves money
You get fresher ingredients as they are being turned over quicker in the supermarket.
You end up with a good variety of ingredients to choose from.
I will try an incorporate the same ingredient twice in the week. Example if Broccoli was cheap on week we will eat it steamed as a side and then in a stir fry or curry in the same week.
To successfully NOT meal plan you do need to make sure you have a good variety of basic pantry/fridge/freezer items like pastas, rice, noodles, dried herbs, sauces, frozen vegetables, basic dairy items etc that can always be used in many of the family friendly recipes I cook and share with you here.
I meal plan for many of the same reasons you DON’T meal plan. I plan around the ingredients that I buy so that if one meal requires half a tub of sour cream, I’ll plan another meal to use the other half up. I’ll plan meals around anything left over from the last week and I plan in leftovers nights (and on the off chance we don’t have any leftovers we just have eggs and toast or something like that). But whatever works!
I’m the same as Liz, I plan my meals so if I’m buying something I know the rest of it will be used elsewhere. That being said, I jot down 12 meals for the fortnight (a few leftover nights are inevitable), but I don’t assign them to a particular day. I find it I don’t have a guide, it takes me forever to work out what I could do that night, but then I can also choose something that we feel like that day or takes more or less time based on how busy my day will be! Sometimes I won’t even use a meal I’ll planned though if I have extra leftovers or something that needs using up (so it rolls over to the next fortnight). It needs to be adaptable! Meal planning also encourages me try out new recipes, or I’d end up cooking the same boring meals each fortnight haha. I’ve saved three of your recipes in the last week to add to my next plan!
Hi I hate meal planning and have very little wastage. I love just deciding on the day what we want to eat and would hate to HAVE to eat what was on the list just because it was written down. I have frozen meals (from cooking double portions) for when I am just too tired to cook. We eat out very seldom and even less so since having a Thermomix as I have become very creative and make a huge variety of new foods all the time. I have a big pantry and freezer which is filled with dried food that is bought on special and meat from a “free range” butcher. I know that I save money this way and I go to the markets for my fresh vegies that I don’t grow myself.