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Menu Planning - An Idiots Guide?!?!?

S: 13st6lb C: 13st2lb G: 10st0lb BMI: 29.7 Loss: 0st4lb(2.13%)
Hi all

OK, I really want to get menu planning for next week but have never done it before in my life .... and have no idea where to start.

So pleeaase could someone give me an idiots guide to menu planning.

EG/ Do I need to choose what to eat on what day or do I just think of 7 different evening meals and shop for them.

Do you include lunches or are they just thrown together from what you already have in or leftovers??

Where do you get your meal ideas from??

etc etc

I'd be ever so grateful for any help at all.

J x
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i made a meal plan last week as my parents were away and i was totally in control of what was in the house.
i started out by having a look on here for some recipe ideas and thought of some things i like having anyway.

i then decided on 7 dinners i could have and a few different things for lunch-i tend to just have baked potatoes of toasties so just wrote down a few different ideas.i then thought of free snacks like fruit,yogurts,mug shots and few treats.wrote it all down and went shopping:) was suprisingly easy.
i didnt stick to it daily.i would just get up and think what i wanted for that day.
i found that since i planned everything i didnt cheat as much because i knew that i had so much choice in the house.

i have also just bought the EE cookbook from group and it has some fantastic recipes ideas in it.

have fun with it:)


Silver Member
G: 10st0lb
I menu plan every week - I get weighed on Monday then Monday night I sit with my magazines & books & plan each lunch & evening meal & make my shopping list from this, I normally have two days where I use leftovers for lunch to keep costs down too
I'm the same. I sit down on a Saturday, plan all the meals for the week, then go and do the weekly shop on Sunday. By planning like this, there is less chance of me going off the rails.

I try to cook a couple of new recipes a week (to keep life interesting!) then the rest of the time use what is in the freezer. I only cook for myself so I'll freeze all leftover portions.
S: 13st6lb C: 13st2lb G: 10st0lb BMI: 29.7 Loss: 0st4lb(2.13%)
Thanks for the tips ...... I tried to do it this afternoon before posting on here but quite literally just didn't know where to start.

OK so next question - anyone care to share their meal plan for the week? (or last week) I'm seriously lacking inspiration at the mo.

Thanks x

PS/ Do you decide I'll have x on Monday, y on Tuesday etc and stick to it or just decide on the day, seeing as you have the ingredients in anyhow??
I go shopping every Sunday and so on a Saturday I sit and write my plan. I start with what I already have in the house. For example, if I have chicken breast in the freezer I will plan a meal that uses that and then I decide what I fancy for that week (It can be quite tough to decide what I want to eat on Thursday when it is only Sunday!).

I have a sheet of paper and split it into 7 boxes and plan it that way. I try and think of things that I could have for the next day for my lunch or I make a big pasta/rice/potato salad that will last a couple of days for a few lunches.

I also plan in my snacks and then I write my shopping list from there! I then stick the piece of paper on the fridge and stick to it!

I like knowing what I am going to eat and it ensures that I have the meat out of the freezer when I need it!

I hope that helps!
i make a rough plan and then decide on the day what to have.i sometimes change it quite a bit.
this is a basically what i made for this week

tues-chicken with bqq sauce and cheese and mash
wed-cheesy meatballs with SW chips
thurs-BBQ with friends so chicken pieces,homemade burger,salads,fruit
fri-chilli and crab pasta
sat-baked potato with prawns
sun-eggs,chips and beans

lunches-wholemeal bread and meat fillings for sandwiches
lots of people enjoy salads,i personally dont like them

snacks-muller lights yogurts
hifi bars
scan bran-i made one cake this week for the first time

drinks-diet lemonade
sugar free squash
fanta zero

treats-i got marshmallows for my bbq and a few freddos-saving most syns so i can have a few drinks this weekend

so that was basically my list and then i worked out what i needed to buy.and then picked from it day to day.works for me:)
hope that helps a little


Silver Member
personally I dont decide what i will have on each day. i just make sure i have seven evening meals, seven lunchs and enough for two snacks a day. Breakfast is always the same. i then just pick what i fancy each day from what i have in - this works for me as i hav two toddlers so some days im shattered and couldnt face cooking from basic so opt for an easier dish. but you could have a set menu and stick to it if thats what suits. it would work both ways i just prefer a bit of flexibility. i'd advise to make sure you do have a few easy stand by meals in each week so if things go wrong like your late back or really tired one night there is something in the house which is on plan but easily shoved in the oven - this stops me ending up with too many takeaways!!


I ate my willpower!
S: 21st6.0lb C: 21st6.0lb G: 11st0lb Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
I do mine in advance to. I just write down 7 dinners and then think of what lunch's I want to take to work, then I write a list and off I go.

This has been my first week back on the plan, and so far my plan has been like this:-

Extra Easy


bacon and scrambled eggs

Ham and cheese toastie (using a toastbag)


Chicken salad with extra light mayo

Jacket pot (previously cooked the night before and re-heated in the microwave) with Tuna and extra light mayo with a side salad.

Cajun chicken and rice

Keema curry and rice (from night before)


Slow cooked beef curry and rice with side salad.

Chicken and vegetable kebabs with salad and potato wedges.

Keema curry and rice with side salad.

Chicken stuffed with cheese and basil then wrapped in parma ham. Served with potato wedges and a side salad.


Melon, apples, satsumas, mug shots, blackberries, cherries, strawberries and HiFi bars. :D
S: 13st6lb C: 13st2lb G: 10st0lb BMI: 29.7 Loss: 0st4lb(2.13%)
Oh this is brilliant, thanks for all your help, please do keep the menus/ideas coming.

Really appreciate it.

J x
I do my weekly plan the day before I go shopping. I plan out my breakfast, lunch and dinner menus for the week and I think the diet is far easier to stick to when I do that. Firstly it saves money on your shopping bill and secondly there are no moments stood in the kitchen thinking hmmm what can I have to eat today, as I know exactly what I am cooking from the word go.

There are a few daily planners on my blog if you want to have a look and if you like I can add my last few weekly planners for you to have a look at.

Hunt for recipes online and make up a recipe file, that you can browse through when doing your meal planning, that way you will have lots of variety and wont get bored.

here is my meal plan for this week, just to give you an idea of how I do it. The only thing I don't plan is my snacks and desserts (if I have one), I just make up something on the day, usually a low syn cake or yoghurt and fruit etc.

The other good thing about meal planning, is sorting out my healthy extras etc.


Fried Egg on toast (HEb)(1syn)
Tea - (0.5 syns)

Lunch: -
Teriyaki Chicken and Rice (1 syn)

Baked Bean Lasagne with Salad (HEa)


Bacon Sandwich with ketchup (HEb)(2 syns)
Tea (0.5 syns)

Teriyaki Chicken and Rice (1 syn)

Baked Bean Lasagne with Salad (HEa)


Toast with Banana and Honey (1.5 syn)(HEb)
Tea - (0.5 syns)

Spiced Sweet Potato and Egg (HEa)

Lentil Curry with Rice (1 syn)


Boiled Egg and Ham
Tea - (0.5 syns)

Pizza Toast (HEa + b)

Lentil Curry with Rice (1 syn)


Weetabix with hot milk and Maple Syrup (2 syns)(HEa + b)

Mushroom, Bacon, Courgette and Tomato Pasta

Barbecue Chicken with SW Chips and Salad


Syn Free Pancakes and Maple Syrup (2 syns)
Tea - (0.5 syns)

Cauliflower Cheese and Broccoli Soup (HEa + b)

Chicken Casserole with Potatos


Egg, Bacon, Mushrooms, Beans
Tea - (0.5 syns)

Cauliflower Cheese and Broccoli Soup (HEa + b)

Chicken Casserole with Potatoes


Not such a fat kat now :)
S: 19st1.5lb C: 13st5lb G: 11st7lb BMI: 29.3 Loss: 5st10.5lb(30.09%)
For years I have menu planned whether Im SW or not. I menu plan for a fortnight at a time, the day before I go shopping. I work out what Im going to eat preferably alternating green and original. ( I tried extra easy but prefer the normal one.) Then I look in the fridge/freezer etc and look at what Ive got left over. Then work out exactly what each meal needs then take the shopping list to the supermarket. As well as myself Im feeding hubby, 17 year old son, 15 year old daughter and 11 year old daughter. So my menus need to be appropriate for all. My food bill is now somewhere between £80 - £100 per fortnight plus top ups for milk and bread. I always cook from scratch though as I prefer to know what we're eating but youngest daughter has lots of food allergies so I need to know whats going in her bod.
It is worth menu planning and does get easier with time. My menu gets pinned up in the kitchen and if we dont fancy jacket spuds on jacket spuds night we swap for another green meal. It doesnt have to be restrictive. Go for it.
G: 10st10lb
Here's my menu for next week if its any help, I'm on EE

brekkie - cereal and milk or fruit salad

Lunch - jacket potato and beans
home made soup
left overs from previous night
omlette and salad
Canned ravioli

Dinners - Monday - Macaroni cheese and salad
Tuesday - Chicken with parsley mash and veg
Wednesday - Italian meatballs and spaghetti with roasted med veg
Thursday - Chicken byriyani, rice and salad
Friday - Vegetable lasagne and salad
Saturday - Sweet and sour chicken with noodles and stir fry veg
Sunday - Smoked haddock, prawn, mushroom and pasta bake with salad

snacks are fruit and yogurts.

I sit down with my cookery books and decide what we having for the week. I use any cook book and just adapt it to SW friendly meals by omitting fats and changing cream for yogurt or creme freche etc. As I am selecting the meals I write down any ingredients that I need at the same time and hey presto, my shopping list is then done too.


Not such a fat kat now :)
S: 19st1.5lb C: 13st5lb G: 11st7lb BMI: 29.3 Loss: 5st10.5lb(30.09%)
Yes, I use any cookbook as well although I do have a fair stock of SW ones but any recipe is easily adapted.
S: 13st6lb C: 13st2lb G: 10st0lb BMI: 29.7 Loss: 0st4lb(2.13%)
Oooh your menu's all sound fab.

Right I have today and tomorrow to sort out a week of menus - and as I've never done it before it will probably take up most of the 2 days! lol

At the moment our freezer is absolutely packed so I think I might start there, write everything down shelf by shelf and then see what I can make using those items ......the fridge is also pretty full just now too so that's quite handy, might not need to buy much this week ...... looks like this menu planning will save us money because I'll only buy what we need instead of just picking randomly off the supermarket shelves!

So once I've written down what we've actually got in the freezer ...... I'll stick a list on the door and cross things off as I use them, then I have a running list of what's lurking at the back!!

Does that sound like a good starting point? (I'm actually quite excited at the prospect of being organised, saving money and sticking to plan for once - how sad is that!)!

I'm sure I'll be back shortly with more queries!!

Thanks again everyone, you're really helping.

J x


Getting fit for 30!
S: 25st5lb C: 25st5lb G: 11st1lb BMI: 54 Loss: 0st0lb(0%)
I fear I might get a colective slap for this, but I don't plan at all! I seem to have a rather good mind of what's free and what syns are in what so I just see what I fancy. If I know I'm going out or have something yummy with lots of syns I'm a bit more careful. I just open the cuboard and think ooo that'll be nice.

I don't reccomend this way, especially for newbies, but if I was still planning my menu everyday now I'm into week 12 I think I'd given up long ago!
S: 13st6lb C: 13st2lb G: 10st0lb BMI: 29.7 Loss: 0st4lb(2.13%)
See that's how I've been for the last few months but I seem to wander off plan farrrr too often. I figured if I tried a bit of menu planning, it would help keep me on track.

Plus I easily lose track of my HE's if I don't write it down so if I plan in advance, there's no chance of that happening.

I've tried that way and it clearly hasn't worked, so now I'm going to try this way......fingers crossed it will do the trick and I wont get food amnesia anymore!!! lol

J x
S: 13st6lb C: 13st2lb G: 10st0lb BMI: 29.7 Loss: 0st4lb(2.13%)
OK I've been through the freezer and this is what we have in: (it may look like I've duplicated some but its just that I listed items shelf by shelf)

4 lamb loin chops
2 tubs of cooked BBQ meat (various)
10 lamb blades
6 boneless pork rib steaks
3 cooked chicken breasts
2 tubs of steak (couldn't count how many in each)
6 cooked chicken thighs
1 seabass fillet
4 packs of joes sausages (various flavours)
1 'joes' peppered steak
1 bag of chilli chicken wings (??syns??)
6 pitta breads
2 pork rib steaks
1 box of king prawns
4 coley portions
2 fish steaks with parsley sauce (??syns??)
1 plaice fillet
1 seabass fillet
4 pork & apple burgers (joes)
2 chicken breasts
4 chicken fillets
4 pork loin steaks
4 salmon fillets
1 bag sweetcorn
1 bag cauli
1 bag sprouts
1 bag spinach
1 bag rhubarb
2 bags quorn swedish meatballs
1 bag quorn mince
4 lamb and mint burgers (??syns??)
1 pack of steak
2 bags of grated cauli (use this as 'rice' on a red day)

We also have :
soft cheese, hard cheese, happy moo's, parmesan cheese

yogurts, eggs, milk

bacon, cooked meats

potatoes, onions, cucumber, courgette, mushrooms, tomatoes, red & white cabbage, celeriac, spring onions, peppers, mixed salad leaves, carrots, celery.

Along with:

Pasta, rice, baked beans, sweetcorn, tinned toms, lentils (red), soup and sugar free jelly.

Fresh and dried herbs & spices.

So, any fabby SW meals springing to mind from that lot??

Any inspiration at all will be grateful appreciated. Obviously I can nip to the shops for anything we haven't got, but that's what I have in to play with.

I'm cooking for 2 adults.

J xxxx
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Not such a fat kat now :)
S: 19st1.5lb C: 13st5lb G: 11st7lb BMI: 29.3 Loss: 5st10.5lb(30.09%)
Fish pie with the coley
Potato and bacon bake with tinned tomatoes
chicken and veg casserole with the chicken thighs
meatballs with spaghetti in bolognese sauce
quorn sheperds pie and veg

Is the BBQ meat homemade or bought? ie. does it have syns?

Will that do for starters?

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