I can’t believe it’s September already! Pretty soon we’ll be having to think about packed lunches as Harry starts preschool next week but for now I’m just going to enjoy the final week of having both my babies home during the day. As always, we’re shopping on a tight budget but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to eat really tasty, healthy meals!
Meal planning has been such a game changer for me when it comes to saving money and it’s starting to become something I look forward to each week, a little challenge I set myself to feed our family for as little money as possible!
One of the ways we’ve saved money is to avoid waste so I thought I’d share with you my top tips for cutting down on food waste each week!
Top tips for reducing food waste
I know, I know, I say this all the time but having a meal plan and shopping for it means you’re less likely to pick up things you don’t need around the supermarket and will buy less, meaning you waste less!
Check use by dates
I always plan what meals I’m going to cook but I don’t plan what order we will have them in until I’ve bought the ingredients. I then order my meals by use by date or freeze any meat that is likely to go off before it is used.
Make a meal of your leftovers
One of my kid’s favourite meals is veggie pasta made with all of the random bits of veg left over from other meals that would otherwise go to waste. We also tend to throw in any sausages or chicken that is left over.
Cook it and freeze it
A little bit of effort can save you a whole load of money. Potatoes going to go off before you’ll use them? Make mashed potato and freeze it. Turn fruit into smoothies and freeze it in lolly moulds as a tasty treat. Cook whole meals if it means you wont waste the ingredients and freeze them as a ready meal. Your future self will thank you. As will your bank balance!
Each day, decide what you’re going to eat early then figure out how long it will take to cook and when you’ll need to start. Being organised means you’ll be less likely to leave it till the last minute and order a cheeky take away.
Here’s what we’ll be eating this week!
I’m trying to keep things as cheap as possible as we’re having a little party for Megan’s birthday on Sunday and I’ll be buying food to cater for that too. I’m not going to do much food and it’s only a few close friends and family coming but I still want to be mindful that it will be an additional expense this week. I’ve also tried to keep our meal plan as simple as possible. I’m back at work after a few weeks off this week so need really quick and easy ‘no thrills’ meals for the evenings after work.
- Egg on toast
- Pasta and veggies in tomato sauce (Made with leftovers)
- Yorkshire puddings, mash, peas and gravy (We have the Yorkshire puddings in the freezer that need using up!)
- Cheese and crackers (Always a favourite with the kids.)
- Pizza pinwheels
- Mediterranean basa and couscous (This was on last week’s meal plan but we ate at my sister’s house one night so have carried it over to this week.)
- Chilli and rice in a tortilla basket (Chilli is great for padding out with lots of beans and veggies, making it really inexpensive. I’ll make the baskets by shaping tortilla wraps and baking in the oven until crisp.)
- Chicken tika masala (I have some chicken in the freezer that will be perfect to use up in this curry! I also pad it out with lots of cauliflower and chickpeas.)
- Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork served with brioche buns, homemade chips and coleslaw (I love this as a quick and easy meal for midweek, especially if I’m working!)
- Pasta and pesto (Quick, easy and tasty! Another good meal for when I’ve been working.)
- Spanish omelette (We go through so many eggs in this house! This is a great, all in one pan, meal that is really cheap to make!)
- Tuna pasta bake (Another really simple meal.)
I planned around ingredients we already had so managed to spend only £36. As I said earlier, I will need to do a small top up shop before Megan’s birthday party but I’m really happy with this week’s haul!
You can find more of our meal plans here: