Let me share how we managed to successfully implement a weekly meal plan in our household, eating healthier, reducing waste and saving money.
No more ‘what’s for dinner’ and me too tired to make a decision, only to succumb and reach for the smart phone despite already having had take away that week. Or sending a hungry husband off to the butcher and him buying the entire store. Or wading up and down the isles at the grocery store, only to end up with pasta and ready made sauce and oh, all the things that are not so good for you; chocolate, crisps and wine…
How we make our weekly meal plan
1.Choose the main ingredients
The way I go about it is to start with a draft with days and main ingredients. Will it be fish, meat or vegetarian? I also pay attention to vegetables, especially that greens are included in the plan, ensuring a right balance for our family and lifestyle.
2. Involve the family
I ask the family if they have anything in particular in mind. Also worth mentioning is that the girls (age 12 and 16) each cook a meal a week. Obviously they get to decided what they’ll be cooking.
3. Write a shopping list based on recipes
With a draft in hand I’ll check what’s in season and on offer at the grocery store. Seasonal foods are not only fresher but also often cheaper. Also worth mentioning is that I cook mostly from scratch. When I’ve decided on ingredients I’ll write a shopping list based on recipes. These could be from my cook books or from websites.
Example of a weekly meal plan
Monday – Creamed cauliflower soup with freshly baked buns.
Tuesday – Chili con carne with rice.
Wednesday – Roasted vegetable lasagne.
Thursday – Baked cod in breadcrumbs, raw carrot slaw, potato mash and tartar sauce.
Friday – Taco night (Norway’s national dish)
Saturday – Pizza, a gret way to use up meat and cheeses from the fridge.
Sunday – Roast chicken, oven baked potatoes, cream sauce and vegetables.
Where possible I’ll do my best to make the most out of the ingredients. If we have had roast chicken for dinner, the left over will be cooked into a stock (thanks to my beloved pressure cooker). This stock will then be the base for a risotto or soup.
The food photos in this post are from matprat.no – a website I use a lot when planning our meals. The recipes are straight forward and the dishes are tasty. Another website I like using is bbcgoodfood.com.
4. Keep a meal plan journal
I also keep a weekly meal plan journal. This is one of my best inspirations, and a good way to remember what I’ve cooked in the past and still love.
5. Shop online
I then do my shopping online to avoid impulse buys and unnecessary spending. Make sure you quickly pass the sneaky ‘did you forget?’ and ‘on offer now’ pages at check out. As we are on a mission to eat well and save money, these pages are to be elegantly ignored… When you check out make sure to use any vouchers or promotion codes you may have received. Or do a quick search online (thank you Google!).
If you don’t like to shop online, I think the trick is to still only shop once a week. And rigidly stick to the shopping list.
What we’ve found is that we eat a lot healthier, we reduce waste and we save money with our weekly meal plan.
6. Share this weeks menu with the family
When the list is complete and the shopping is done I’ll be sending out a text to the family, sharing ‘this weeks menu’. The text includes links to the recipes online, so they can click the link to have a look for themselves.
Actually the sharing-the-menu part is surprisingly enjoyable; Having the family looking forward to dinner.
Let me now if you have any advice too. And best of luck with the meal plans and Happy & Healthy eating! x