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Meal Planning Guide & My Food Shopping List

(probably the most Virgo post I’ve ever written)

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I flit between being the most organised person in the kitchen with a fully-prepped fridge and a daily must-follow meal plan, or I end up with the fridge containing just a measly old garlic clove and some off milk and we end up having takeaways more often than I’d wish to disclose. Recently it’s been a little much of the latter, so I’ve been trying to step up my game in the meal prep department and I thought that writing this post would be just the kick up the butt that I needed.

If like me Domino’s text you more than anyone else on your phone, then I have a Sample Meal Prep List, which is what I used last week to prep our food. I thought I’d give you one that was filled out just incase you fancied some ideas and to see how we lay it out for the two of us for five days worth of planning. Then I’ve also got a Meal Planning Guide that’s empty and ready for you to fill out. Just click on the link, print it out and there you go. Have a read of the below to see how I go about this whole meal prep malarkey…

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Get salivating. This is probably the most time-consuming step of the whole thing, but before you even get to the lists and the buying, you need to know what you want to make first. I own a tonne of recipe books because I’m slowing turning into my mother, so I always look through them first. Although obviously the internet is a great source of inspiration and I always think that you can’t go wrong with BBC Good Food. They have a load of seasonal recipes, the comments underneath are really helpful when it comes to refining them and they’re always simple and easy to make. Get creative bookmarking the ones you like, writing lists, popping post-its on pages in recipe books. I have my favourites that I always go back to, but once a week – if I can and I have the time – I try to get creative and try something new.

Take stock. When you’ve got a list together of recipes that tickle your fancy, I suggest taking stock of your kitchen cupboards to see what you already have. This is a step that Mark is particularly weak at and is why we have about three jars of chilli powder tucked away on the shelves. It stops you doubling up, therefore wasting money and it means that you can keep costs down for the week by making recipes where you have a high number of the ingredients already. Defrost those chicken breasts! Dust off that tin of kidney beans! Dig the flour out from the depths of your cupboards! It’s time to shine.

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List love. Once you’ve worked out what it is that you’d like to eat over the next couple of days and what you already have in your cupboards, fridge and freezer, it’s time to write a list. Oh I really love a list, I do. In my Meal Planning Guide there’s a empty section with headers for; fruit and veg, meat and fish (if you eat them), dairy (again if you eat it), dry goods and also household goods (basically cleaning supplies and loo roll). I find it best to compose my list this way as it’s easier to see if I’ve left anything out and it tends to follow the flow of supermarkets so you don’t end up running a mini marathon around it as you dash from one side to the other. It takes a little more time to prep, but it saves you time once you’re there and makes it much less likely that you’ll forget something.

Go shop. Now this can either be the best bit or the worst bit. The best bit if you’ve managed to squeeze your weekly shop into a timeframe when no one else is doing it. The worst bit if it’s a Saturday morning and the whole thing turns into trolley wars/a fight for the last pint of milk. Try to stick to the list as best you can and avoid special offers – divert the eyes whenever you pass the end of the aisle. I try to make it into a bit of a game and see how fast I can be in and out. I think my record is 13 minutes. Yep I pretty much did a light jog around the supermarket that day.

Remember to download your print-out Meal Planning Guide and let me know what you think. Right, no takeaways next week. Maybe.

Photos by Lauren Shipley

Comments

  • Love this Anna, meal prepping is adulting 101. I reckon I can do a monthly shop on £100 each month thanks to meal prepping and not wasting food.

    Vee | http://beautyvaultbyvee.co/

  • Ronja

    Your timing couldn’t be better !! 🙂 I’m moving in with my boyfriend next week and our goal is to meal Plan from the Start. Would Love a follow-up post where you explain how you prepare the food for the week ahead once you’ve bought it. 🙂

  • Yolila Rose

    Love this post

  • Laura Torninoja

    Such great tips, thank you for sharing! I’ve been trying to be better with meal planning lately as well – it’s just so much nicer to come home from work when you’ve already prepared something 🙂

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  • I love meal planning. I try to do it every weekend else my whole week just goes to plot! x

    http://www.wonkylauren.com

  • Emily

    I love this, we are big meal planners as well! One of my favorites it Minimalist Baker. Perfect for week night cooking and it is all plant based! Also I so agree that its good to take stock of what you currently have before going. Also, good to always have your essentials stocked. I did a post on some of my essentials over here – http://www.organicallyemily.com/my-kitchen-essentials/
    Happy Friday!
    xo,
    Em http://www.organicallyemily.com

  • Oh I am a total meal planning convert! Love this post Anna, thanks for sharing your approach and tips. I want to know how you make homemade Nando’s, have you shared that in a previous post? And what are you making in these photos? It looks delicious! I have been meal planning for a few years now and recently combined my love of the bullet journal with meal planning and think Ive struck gold! If you want to see how i do it (it involved post it notes, i know you’ll love it 😉 ) then you can see it at the end of this video (skip the beginning, its how I use my bullet journal for sewing planning…I don’t think you will be interested in that! lol): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGFTrNRhp0
    ps. mega cringy amateurish youtube video because Im totally new to it and don’t know what I’m doing or have the right equipment!

  • Love this! I converted into a meal planner too now that I live away from home.

    Arden | Missing Wanderer

  • Sophie Bird

    Online shopping saves so much time. We have an Ocado delivery every Saturday morning. When we book our slot it suggests our shopping list based on previous orders. We then update it based on what we need that week. I spend far less than if I impulse bought at a supermarket too.

  • TAKING STOCK IS SO IMPORTANT! So many of us just go shopping assuming we know what we have / what we need only to find out that we have so much of something and not enough of another in the refrigerator heh!

    ♡ Carina – Blog // YouTube

  • I seriously have to step up my meal planning game again, once you missed a day it is so hard to get back into the routine… Supermarkets full of prepared meals don’t really help the cause either! I will definitely use that meal planing guide this week x http://www.justsavxnnah.com

  • Johanna

    Those roasted vegetables looks delicious! Would you mind sharing the recipe?

  • HarrisonBeach

    To contradict this post, if like me you’re a ‘eat out’ addict, check out my blog where I feature a Foody Friday post every Friday (duh). CHECK IT OUT AND SHOW SOME LOVE!

    byharrison.blogspot.co.uk

  • Annie

    Great tips for meal prep! I love the line ‘If like me Domino’s text you more than anyone else on your phone’ cracked me up hahahahhah

    https://annieslondon.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Cate Barr

    Thanks, Anna! Such a help! Currently living in a flatshare with no freezer and minimal fridge space, so I’ve been having to meal plan and this is a real help – ta! X

  • I really needed this post! Great pictures on your blog; totally salivating!!

    afomaumesi.com

  • ’d wish to disclose. Recently it’s been a little much of the latter, so I’ve been trying to step up my game in the meal prep department and I thought that writing this post would be just the kick up the butt that I needed.