Let's talk about FOOD baybee....10:35
Do you ever have the kind of day that starts with you wishing you had thermal undies? To your knees. No? Ah, you don't live in Wales.
In Denver yesterday they had snow!! SNOW! In October! I don't know if that's normal for them or not but ... snow! In the back of my mind I know that as soon as snow arrives I'll be bored of it within 48 hours. Or I run out of chocolate. But still...there's something so magical about snow. Especially when you get as much rain as we do, anything's magical!
I'm gonna throw this one out there....don't hate. Do you meal plan?
Up until I started reading blogs (as in multiple ...urm...271 subscriptions) Really need to go through and have a clear out I think. Off topic...anyway, since I started reading blogs I had no idea about meal planning. Or the few times I'd heard of it I thought it was some crazy OCD type behaviour that surely could come to no good!
Meal planning for 3 months was even crazier.....how do you store all the food?!
For those who like me haven't heard of meal planning before the concept is this. You plan your meals. Simples!
In September we went on holiday, you may remember the peaceful silence that blew through this blog. No? Ah well, it was a blissful few weeks. Anyway, I was the Catering Manager for the holiday. My mum and her fancy man and my 2 sisters and their men. And I was in charge of the food. Me, who couldn't really care less if I eat a meal or a bowl of cereal.
I thought I'd better do a list of meals and then buy from those and then the family type persons wouldn't starve. Actually as it happened the opposite happened and I fed people so much they
I wrote a list of meals that everyone would like and for the funny ones added a variation. My little sister is gluten free so I tried to bear that in mind.
Then I planned them into the days, wrote a list of all the ingredients and bought it. We all put in £50 each couple and at the end of the week there was almost a fifth of it back and everyone went home with some food goodies :)
So, when we came home I was like...urm, it was so easy knowing what was for dinner and not having to decide and then start cooking etc. So we decided to try it for October and see if it made our lives easier.
Monday's we're free so we go to the supermarket, Tuesdays is church at 7pm and we work til 6pm so we eat after church. We get home from church around 9pm. Wednesdays is Kidz Club so we leave work at 4:30pm (we work at home lol) and get home around 7:45pm and then start cooking. Thursdays is youth group so we leave work/home at around 5pm and get back around 8:30pm and start to cook. Fridays is our evening off.
So, generally we don't get to start cooking until around 8pm - 9pm. It's not great but what can you do? But having a meal plan would make it easier to be prepared and know what we're cooking. Sometimes we have our main meals at lunchtimes but we're dealing with such short days it's crazy.
Ok, so I downloaded a month's calendar type thingy from Carina Gardner. Click here to go download it.
Don't click the pic and save it, it's a screenshot, go there and download it for free. It's absolutely gorgeous.
Anyway, so we wrote a list of meals we liked then arranged them on the days. Pizzas feature heavily mid week cos they're quick and easy. Longer dishes feature Friday - Monday because that's when we have time.
One mistake I made the first month was not to leave any 'free' days. I really fancies pancakes for dinner one day but I was all so planned that I couldn't justify changing a meal cos I'd already bought the bits!
|Parsnip two legs wanted to call in and say hello!|
Then I wrote a list of things I'd need to buy for the meals. Then we did one main shop for all of the ambient goods we'd need for the entire month and then every week we'd just pop and get the fruit & veg.
Obviously it made our life easier, there's no denying that. We always knew what was for dinner AND we had the anticipation of knowing what was coming. When you only just decide you're having sweet potato wedges that night there's no time to look forward to having them.
Now here's the best thing about it. Our grocery/toiletry & cleaning spend went from £46 a week to £32 a week. Um.....what?! That's a crazily small figure to spend a week on food. £32. And that includes cleaning and toiletries. The toiletries are always going to be a good price though cos I use Avon. It's the smart girl's choice.
|Source via Roxanne on Pinterest|
Sure it helps that we don't eat meat. Dus isn't a vegetarian but he's quite happy not eating meat most of the time. We can get all the nutrients and goodness from meat elsewhere in our diet. Thanks Emma for helping me find where to get my iron & calcium!
It's not that I deny Dus meat, but when you are trying to be thrifty you have a choice. Do I buy beef at price X or do I buy spinach at price X. Of course, if you love meat you'll probably find it harder to cut down your meat spend lol.
We never cut the cost on our fruit and veg though, a fair price for a fair day's work. Fair trade makes sense.
Don't forget that I'm a girl who used to be addicted to takeaways, burgers, fried chicken etc. But I stopped eating it and it was tough the first 6 months not to cave in but I'm so glad I did. It's truly addicting and now I don't even fancy it. Even if I'm desperate I'd far rather NOT go to McDonalds than go.
Anyway, so, me being a little odd, I keep a record of how much of our spend is on different things and now if you're still with me and not too freaked out I'll share it with you.
I encourage you to do it yourself for a month and see what your average weekly spend is, it helps us to ensure we're not spending lots of money on silly things that we 'fancy' instead of good nutritious food.
Average week in October
Fruit & Veg - £6.68
Dairy - £4.57
Ready Meals (fresh soup in a carton lol) £0.32
Tins & Jars - £1.13
Packets, condiments & oils - £0.47
Pasta & rice - £0
Cereals - £0.76
Bread - £1.09
Breakfast breads - £0.57
Baking - £0.92
Juice - £1.15
Chocolate & sweets - £3.91 (OOPS!!)
Soft drinks - £0.92
Alcohol - £1 (4 beers for £5 and 5 weeks in October)
Pizzas - £0.30
Ice cream & frozen puddings - £1.02
Frozen - £0
Crisps & snacks - £0.83
Consumables (kitchen roll, loo rolls etc) - £1.68
Cleaning - £0.83
Toiletries - £4.68
Average week in October Total: £32.01
Just food: 24.82
Yes, ok, there are just the two of us, but we consider ourselves to eat well. We don't use value brands where we don't like them but we don't get premium brands when the value brand is just as good.
If now you're shaking your head saying, well it's ok for them they don't eat much or they don't have the same likes as I do, that's ok. But I would definitely challenge you to keep track of what you spend every week for a month broken down like this and analyse what you're spending on what.
We've cut back on crisps, soft drinks, alcohol
(side note - we still have a store cupboard with lots of bits and pieces in - Just In Case).
Go on, I dares you, try it for yourself.
Lots of love,
At home with Mrs H
p.s. in the interest in 'keeping it real' tonight's meal may or may not be chocolate & popcorn. :D