Food | Meal Planning For A Busy Lifestyle

My life is a bit mental.  As I previously mentioned, I work both full time and part time.  I get one day off a week.  I live with my partner, have 2 dogs, spend time with friends and try to stay as healthy as I can so I find the only way to function properly is to plan my time.

Plan Plan Plan.

Weekly meal planning is one way I find things work for us.  If we didn't plan, I'm pretty damn sure I would spend a ton on take-aways as I tend to be really tired and lazy when I get home from work at 6pm.
Meal Planning for A Busy Lifestyle eyelinerflicks blog
We keep a sweet little magnetic dry wipe board on our fridge so we can plan the menu for the week ahead and keep a record of anything we need to pick up from the supermarket and I thought today I would share my tips for staying on top of things when you're tight on time.

The one saviour in my weekly routine is my slow cooker.  Especially at this time of year with the seasons changing.  I find I want to eat all the cosy, comfort food and moving into the winter months my slow cooker is my third arm.  I find tons of recipes on Pinterest(link) and play around with the ingredients depending on what I have at home.

I love that I can prep the ingredients the night before, stick the whole pot in the fridge then before I leave for work in the morning turn it on a low heat and my dinner will be ready when I get home in the evening.  Perfect for hotpots, curries etc.

Surveying your cupboards, fridge and freezer before doing your weekly shop may seem like a simple idea but it's something I always forgot to do and I always ended up buying things in my weekly shop that just didn't work with everything else I have at home.

Planning your weekly menu based on what you already have in the house is the easiest way to stay ontop of buying wasteful amounts of food - I find there is nothing worse than buying a ton of fresh veg only to remember when you get home that you already have a mountain of greens leftover from from last week.

Stick to your shopping list if and when you can.  If you only need rice to make that amazing curry for tomorrow night, then only buy the rice.  But buy a big bag and use it for something quick like Kedgeree on another night that week.  Impluse buying is bad.  Say it out loud when you go shopping, IMPLUSE BUYING IS BAAAAD!
Prep.  As above with the slow cooker idea, I love prepping my meals the night before.  When I get home at 6pm on a week night I don't want to start peeling and chopping as soon as I get in the door,  I want to spend time with my other half, play with the dogs and eat all the yummy food.  So I tend to do all of that first and actually do something with my evening if I can, like a bike ride or some tv and THEN I'll clean up the house and prep for the following day.
Batch cooking.  Stews, soups, curries etc are all amazing for cooking up huge batches and freezing for another day OR splitting into portions for lunches.  My OH refuses to eat sandwiches so we tend to cook things like chilli or curry for dinner one evening then that should last us for at least 2 more lunches each too.
Obviously we don't stick to our meal plans all the time but I've found that by following these few steps I have saved a ton of cash from not buying all the pizzas when I'm feeling lazy.  I've also saved myself from horrible sad ham sarnies in work and found that I have more time to spend enjoying the spare time I have.
Do you use meal planning? Does it work for you?

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