I hate it when it gets to about 4pm each day and I’m still wondering what I’m going to cook for tea. With kids, that time of day can be stressful enough as it is, without having the extra stress of rummaging through the cupboard, fridge and freezer trying to find inspiration (and ingredients) to cook something!
After going through this scenario for long enough, and “winging” it with dinners, I decided it was time that I got myself organised. I decided to create a menu based on the meals my family like and also included the recipes, so I don’t have to try to find specific recipe sheets or cookbooks every night.
The menu is based on a 6-week schedule from Monday through to Sunday nights and I’ve structured it so that we have a balance of white and red meat as well as vegetarian dishes every week. If your family has take-away once a week or fortnight, then you can schedule this in.
When it comes to shopping, it’s too easy! I’ve created a shopping list in Excel with all of the ingredients for the meals on the menu (as well as the other items required during a regular shop). Whether you shop on a weekly basis or fortnightly, refer to the menu so you know exactly what you need for that period and fill in the shopping list.
This system works extremely well, I am organised and have everything I need. It’s also great for budgeting purposes as well, because I know what I need in advance and do one shop on a weekly basis. If you can reduce the amount of times you visit the supermarket, you will reduce the “impulse buying” as well – I’m sure we’re all guilty of ducking into the supermarket for something we need and ending up coming out with several items!
Another great way to budget with the grocery shopping is to purchase your meat from a butcher and your fruit and vegetables from a market or green grocer, rather than the supermarket. The quality is generally better and as a rule, it is much cheaper. I’ve opted to purchase my red meat from an online supplier who delivers the meat to my door, pre-packaged. This is only going to be suitable if you have the freezer space, but it is much more economical and the meat quality is superb.
Written by Barb Scott
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