Welcome to Meal Plan Monday, our weekly feature where we talk all things Meal Plan. This week we have Nicola from Mummy to Dex writing about what works for her family!
Before our little baba was growing in my belly, we did not meal plan at all. We mainly lived on takeaways and ready meals and I rarely cooked from scratch. More often than not, I would buy blindly in the supermarket and decide on the night what I would cook. I would always forget to get meat out to defrost and when I did remember, I would change my mind or find I didn’t have the right ingredients, meaning the meat was left in the fridge for days on end before it finally went off. We were always chucking meat away and fresh ingredients were left in the fridge to rot.
I started meal planning half way through my pregnancy when I was signed off sick with SPD. I had nothing better to do than to sit and create a month’s worth of meals and then go online to order the food from Morrison’s. I took great joy in looking up new and exciting recipes and ordering the right amount of food to make them. I haven’t looked back since.
We roughly spend around £250 a month, that’s to feed two adults and one baby which does include formula and nappies. In a typical month I’ll get two Morrison’s deliveries of around £100 each and may end up doing a few top up shops towards the middle and end of the month. I usually make meals like spaghetti Bolognese, chicken curry, burritos, paella, a range of pasta dishes, stir fries and fajitas. For breakfast I choose four options and alternate them, things such as porridge, peanut butter on toast, shredded wheat, crumpets and pancakes. Lunch is usually something simple like a sandwich, omelette or something I’ve batch cooked and thrown in the freezer like pinwheels or sweet potato burgers.
The first benefit of us meal planning was the amount of money we started saving. We were having on average four takeaways a week, costing around £15 a go. Over the past 13 months we have saved close to £2500 by limiting takeaways to one per week as a treat. We are also no longer throwing away food which was a huge waste of money.
This leads me on nicely to another plus for meal planning. We very rarely throw food away nowadays, which means a less stinky bin in our apartment and us helping the environment that little bit more. I always felt extremely guilty letting good meat go to waste, now the only things that go in the bin are the scraps Dexter inadvertently drops on the floor when he is being fed.
Thanks to meal planning, we now have a much healthier diet due to eating a more varied diet of different fruits and vegetables. I am a sucker for offers and order fresh produce that is on a special deal meaning we try lots of different things, most recently, persimmons for the first time.
Finally, I love the organisation of it all. Before the month starts, I print off a calendar showing us what we are having for dinner each night. This means I can see what food I need to get out of the freezer and check if I need to pick up any additional fresh bits from the local supermarket. It also gives me great satisfaction to cross off when we have finished a meal.
All in all, meal planning has been a massive change for the better for us. It has helped keep our budget under control during those months of zero maternity pay and has meant we have eaten healthier than we have done for many, many years. I recommend it to anyone who is willing to try it.
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