There are lots of benefits to planning your meals: it can help you save money, it can help you loose weight and it can avoid unnecessary waste.
The key to successful meal planning is organisation. If you want to start planning your weekly meals then the following meal planning resources may be of use!
Why meal plan? Meal Planning Resources
#MealPlanningMonday with Mrs M
In the UK, the main meal planning community stems from the At Home With Mrs M Blog who hosts a weekly link up for everyone and anyone who has planned their meals that week.
If you have a blog you can share your own meal plan, if you don’t blog it provides a list of other peoples meal plans that can help to inspire you.
To find out the latest from Mrs M check out her blog here.
Meal Planning Apps
If you’re more techy than me you may find a meal planning app useful. Here are just a few suggestions.
1. Plan to Eat (monthly subscription): Plan to Eat is based around a Monthly Meal Planner, which lets you drag recipes from your Recipe Book to create a meal plan. As it lets you plan far in advance, you can add special events, additional ingredients and other useful notes.
Top tip: you can even break your shopping lists up into different stores if you spread your shopping across a number of different shops.
2. Allrecipes.com (free): this website allows you to search for recipes based on the ingredients you already have in your cupboard and fridge, perfect for those weeks where you want to use up the odds and sods leftover from last week.
Top tip: the ‘Say Mmm‘ add-on lets you tag recipes with the ‘Say Mmm’ tag, it will then automatically generate a shopping list for the ingredients!
4. MealBoard Meal and Grocery Planner App (roughly $1.99 on iTunes): this app allows you to write shopping lists and to organise meals by day of the week and meal type.
5. Our Groceries (free): the Our Groceries app allows you to syncronise your shopping list on your mobile phone, tablet or computer. Items are easily added to your shopping list by using the “+” on a recipe, type in a new item name, or choose from a list of all the items you’ve entered in the past. The shopping mode allows you to easily cross off an item once its in your trolley. Best of all shopping lists are easily shared and can be synced with other phones in your family.
6. Food on the Table (monthly subscription): this clever app is great for anyone who wants to use meal planning as a way of saving money. The app matches weekly promotions from your local supermarket with your preferences helping you to plan your meals around what’s on offer that week.
7. Pepper Plate Recipe, Menu, and Cooking Planner (free): The menu planning and cooking mode lets you plan menus and add them to a schedule as well as helping you to create shopping lists. What’s really clever is that it can help you organise your shopping list around the way you shop in your local supermarket!
8. Springpad (free): Springpad has a special section devoted to planning weekly meals and grocery shopping. To find out how to use the app specifically for meal planning, see this post from Springpads blog.
9. Menu Planner App (roughly $2.99 on iTunes): this app helps you to put together meal plans, import recipes from your favourite websites, keep track of what’s in your cupboards, before generating a shopping list. (Is there anything it can’t do?!)
10. Pinterest (free): Don’t underestimate the power of Pinterest as a meal planning tool. Simply create a new board with your own category (e.g. week commencing 15th February 2016) allowing you to easily pin recipe ideas for reviewing later. You can also use it as an archive to see what you cooked when allowing you to go back and find the most popular recipes.
Top tip: you can also create a separate board for meal planning inspiration and useful resources like I have! To see my boards simply use the widget below.
Meal Planning Inspiration
If you’re a slow cooker fan check out my post on 7 freezer meals you can cook from frozen in your slow cooker.