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Meal Planning

Meal planning is a great way to ‘live healthy and spend healthy’; your purchases are likely to be more economical with less wastage, which will save you money, and cooking from the basic ingredients means you know exactly what is going into your meals. On this page we have meal planning tips and a suggested 7 day meal plan.

Don't

• Buy pre-prepared items, for example sliced carrots, broccoli florets, breadcrumbs.

• Buy all your fresh food at the start of the week (particularly fruit and veg) it will probably be past its best when you come to use it.

• Try making a meal plan for more than 7 days at a time. It can be difficult to visualise what you will have in the freezer / store cupboards that need using up in a couple of weeks’ time.

Do

• Buy in bigger portions where it is cost effective and items can be frozen, for example 12 sausages are cheaper than 6 and can be frozen.

• Freeze items in individual portions, so that you can defrost just what you need.

• Label items as you freeze them (including the date you froze them).

• Buy frozen vegetables – they are cheaper, last a long time and takes less planning about when you need to buy them compared to fresh.

• Before coming up with a meal plan look at what food you already have that needs using (both fresh and frozen).

• Consider cooking in bulk where extra portions can be frozen or eaten the next day – this makes for quick and easy future meals

To help get you started, here is a suggested meal plan for 7 days. You might want to adapt it based on your own preferences and food you already have in stock. You will probably need to go shopping twice to avoid some of the food going bad.

 

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 1

Cereal and Fruit

Omelette

Tuna and Broccoli Pasta Bake*

Day 2

Poached Egg on Toast

Tuna Sandwiches

Bangers and Mash*

Day 3

Yoghurt and Fruit

Cheese and Tomatoes on Toast

Salmon Fishcakes*

Day 4

Croissants and Fruit

Egg Salad Sandwich

Spicy Carrot Burger*

Day 5

Cereal and Yoghurt

Spicy Carrot Burger Bun*

Sausage Pasta Bake*

Day 6

Scrambled Eggs on Toast

Sausage Pasta Bake*

Pizza*

Day 7

Croissants and Fruit

Pizza*

Roast Chicken*

* Details of the main part of this meal are described below.

For snacks during the day, take healthy food items with you such as fruit and yoghurt.

Portions: 4 Cook time: 30 mins Cost per serving: £2.33 Freezable

Tuna and Broccoli Pasta Bake Recipe

You could adapt this meal to include other veg you may have around as well, such as onions, tomatoes, peppers and mixed veg. Leftovers can be frozen, so that you can have some ready-prepared meals in future weeks. Remember to freeze in portions. Put aside a small amount of tuna for your sandwiches tomorrow.

Portions: 1 Cook time: 40 mins Cost per serving: £1.50

Bangers and Mash Recipe

Use a quarter of the ingredients to make a meal for one. Cook up some sausages (vegetarian if preferred), mashed potatoes and vegetables (such as leftover broccoli from yesterday’s meal, carrots, and peas or sweetcorn). You may want to make extra mash (125g for your meal tomorrow). Freeze the leftover sausages for future meals (you’ll need 2-4 for the meal on day 5).

Portions: 1 Cook time: 35 mins Cost per serving: £2.40

Salmon Fishcakes Recipe

Serve with a salad.

As an alternative, healthier version, sprinkle the salmon fillet with sesame seeds, wrap in foil and bake in the oven (according to the cooking instructions). Serve with potatoes and a salad. If you have bought more than one salmon fillet, freeze the other(s) for future use.

Portions: 2-4 Cook time: 30 mins Cost per serving: £2.10

Spicy Carrot Burgers Recipe

We suggest making half the amount the recipe suggests and then having the spicy carrot burgers with salad for dinner and in a burger bun or two (with some salad) for lunch tomorrow.

Portions: 2 Cook time: 40 mins Cost per serving: £1.44

Freezable

Sausage Pasta Bake Recipe

This is a simple pasta, tomato and sausage dish. Use some of the leftover sausages from day 2. Add in some extra veg, such as mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, frozen peas or sweetcorn. Makes 2 portions, so you can have the leftover portion for lunch tomorrow.

Portions: 1-2 Cook time: 40 mins Cost per serving: £1.28

Pizza Recipe

This recipe can be easily halved and you can choose your own toppings. Remember to try and use food you have left over from the week, such as cheese, mushrooms, peppers, sundried tomatoes and onions. Have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Portions: multiple Cook time: 2 hours Cost per serving: £2.20

Serve with potatoes, roast potatoes and vegetables (for fresh veg, use leftover veg first. If you need to buy anymore, think of veg you can use in the upcoming week or use frozen veg).

Depending on the size of chicken bought, this can create 4-8 portions. Cook the whole chicken and then freeze the cooked chicken in portions ready for use (you might want to leave some out for the next day for another roast – just make sure you reheat the chicken (in gravy) until it is piping hot – or for chicken sandwiches).

Take a look at our tasty butternut squash and leek soup recipe: