Meal Planning

For a long time I have resented meal plans and just didn’t want to do them. What has changed?

Due to Corona, short time work and lockdown I lost a bit of income. Thankfully, that fact in itself is not as big a problem as it could be, but I do recognize that I shouldn’t just continue with my spending as I did before. I ordered pizza and icecream almost every week, and I didn’t really think about my spending elsewhere. My cooking was really depending on what I wanted to eat that day, and unfortunately some groceries did go to waste because I just didn’t feel like them that time.

My reasoning for meal plans are twofold: to cook more often for myself and therefore save some money, and to really use the groceries that I buy before they turn bad. Cherry on top is that most self cooked meals are healthier than takeaway.

So how do I do my meal planning? The first two weeks of my planning almost totally stemmed from what I already had at home. Frozen meat or fish, pasta and rice, some canned stuff. I wanted it to be diversified and in a way that I didn’t have to buy a lot of stuff to make my meals; it was mostly fresh veggies that I bought in these first weeks. And not I mostly plan around the veggies because the sized to buy are bigger than my portion sizes and I don’t want to eat the same on 3 or more consecutive days.

For example, I bought some baby spinach and a cauliflower head. So on day 1 I could have salmon (already in my freezer) with cream spinach, on day 2 I’ll cook chicken cauliflower curry; on day 3 pasta with spinach sauce, and a cauliflower casserolle on day 4. The package of baby spinach will probably be consumed by then, but the cauliflower will still be there, so I need some other meal – soups or stew are a staple for me during the colder time of the year, so a cauliflower stew it is.
I do some research online to search for recipes to cook with my main ingredients, and that is a funny way to broaden my culinary horizon as well.

Due to my intermittent fasting routine I eat breakfast really late, almost at noon; and have one big meal in the late afternoon. So I only need one meal per day for my meal planning, but I think the same approach would work for 2 meals a day as well.

This way less groceries go to waste, and additionally I save money – it’s almost appaling that I spent over 20 Euros on pizza, icecream and coke without thinking twice, and for the same amount of money I can cook healthy meals for several days.