I mentioned in my very first 'How to' post about cutting down on sugar that I would do a post on meal preparation - so here it is! Some of this is going to seem really simple but trust me, if you stick to these basic rules you'll find yourself without a bin full of unused food at the end of the week, a smaller waistline and spending less money despite getting better good.
The trick? Plain and simple - planning. And here's how....
I've spent so much time researching what I should eat, when I should eat it and what recipes I do actually want to make. Now I'm not a nutritionist but there's so much information out there on the internet; the best thing to do is find what works well for you and go and speak to your doctor if you have any concerns. Research for me is not just working out what food is good to put into my body and when but just experimenting is exciting recipes....healthy food does not have to be boring. My favourite go-to books for meal planning are Made by Madeline Shaw, Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward and Lean in 15 by Joe Wicks (aka The Body Coach). Read through and research what you want to try.
Set aside a time to make your plan
I choose Saturday evenings as I usually do my food shop on a Sunday morning. I take a look in the freezer and cupboards and work out what we have and/or need to use up and start there.
Choose things with similar ingredients
This is something I try to change weekly, for example, I'm never going to get through a pot of yoghurt on my own and it's a shame to buy it for one meal and throw it away so I plan a couple of recipes where I need to use this ingredient and so on....
Make a shopping list and stick to it
Once you have all your meals planned out for the week write down all the ingredients you will need, include all your breakfast lunch and snacks! Most important, when you do your shop - stick to it! If you've planned everything out including snacks then there's no reason to need to buy those extra things.
I'm not a huge fan of meal prepping - I really do like my ingredients fresh and there's something about leaving a stir fry in the fridge for 3 days and eating the same thing every day that just doesn't sit well with me. I know a lot of people don't always have time but with recipes like Joe's that only take 15 minutes I really do prefer to cook from scratch. The only thing I do prep is my lunch for the week. I usually make up 4 days worth of soup or a quinoa salad on a Sunday evening and then have a canteen bought lunch on Fridays (unpredictable lunch plan day!). I'll share some great recipes soon!
Use your freezer
If you're making quite a nice sized dish then put some away in the freezer rather than leaving the leftovers in the fridge. I also do this with meat and fish fillets when I buy them, I use half and freeze half but make sure you defrost everything fully before cooking.
Once you have done all of this (and it doesn't sound like that much work does it?) then put the meal plan on your fridge so you're not left forgetting to take things out the freezer (e.g. frozen fruit for your breakfast or meat for tomorrow's dinner!). I love this marble effect weekly planner I got from Etsy - looks stylish in the kitchen and comes with 52 peal-away sheets.
Let me know your meal planning secrets!