Planning meals and budgeting...why is it so hard for me?

Discussion in 'Slimming World' started by Lucylu79, 31 January 2014.

  1. Lucylu79

    Lucylu79 Well-Known Member

    I'm the worlds worst it seems!

    I start off the best intentions, write a few tea ideas down and then either change my mind during the day (which ends up with more expense) or I just get bored half way through making one and never even finish one.

    I'm trying now even but I get interrupted by my 3yr old and like now, he wants my attention. The answer seems so simple, do it when I'm alone but that's my time and happens very rare.

    How do you do it? And more so, how do you stick to it!
  2. Browsie

    Browsie Well-Known Member

    Hi I make the time to plan my meals because I really want to lose weight. I have a 2 and 5 yr old. It's not easy to make time for yourself but when you have that time do something for yourself and plan your meals.

    We plan our evening meals and then I sort my dinner / breakfast depending on what we are having for tea. Rather than planning your meals out for a full week why don't you write down all the breakfasts, dinners and teas you can think of then just pick one from each category the night before so you can get things out of the freezer / top up shopping. You don't HAVE to do a meal plan but it sure makes it a whole lot easier!!
  3. RM07

    RM07 Well-Known Member


    I'm a single mum to a six year old and a two year old and I understand that feeling of when you finally get them in bed it's your time. However planning the weeks evening meals takes me 20 minutes at the most and it's once a week. I bought a meal/shopping planner from Amazon and use that. I then go and buy the items on my shopping list. I'm flexible in that whatever is down for Monday might not be made on Monday but I do stick to the weeks overall plan. I also account for days when we have things on in the evening (Beavers, Swimming lessons etc) and I make something that will have leftovers the night before... instant no having to cook the evenings we get in at 7pm!

    Take the time once a week to plan and try and stick to it. After all what you are eating is part of your time and the cost/effort you are putting into losing weight. Make sure it counts.
  4. Lucylu79

    Lucylu79 Well-Known Member

    Thanks both, I grabbed a spare half hour and did it, I did the evening meals from tomorrow up to wed's which is my weigh in day so I'm late, hubby can make his own ;)

    I've ordered my food on-line as its hoofing it down here, I could of gone out but for a fiver I thought sod it, get it brought to me tomorrow morning instead!
  5. RM07

    RM07 Well-Known Member

    That's the spirit!

    Do you go to group? I've just bought the Extra Easy Express cookbook and although I've only done two recipes so far (I planned a third but didn't account for a load of leftovers so will be doing that one tomorrow) I think it's great. Very quick, tasty meals!
  6. Lucylu79

    Lucylu79 Well-Known Member

    I do go when I can get a babysitter as I am at target so can go freely really.

    Like the sound tof the book, I will look into it as I do tend to stick to the same 5/6 meals!!!
  7. ariescat

    ariescat Well-Known Member

    There's another book that your consultant can order for you called Family Feasts on a Budget - might be worth a look? I've ordered one and I'm hoping there'll be a lot of meals I can freeze spare portions of :)
  8. MrsSOS

    MrsSOS Well-Known Member

    The act of menu planning should lead to budgeting quite naturally. There are a couple of 'tricks' you can use to make it easier on yourself.

    The first is a 'working backwards' way: basically, you look over your shopping receipt and decide from that what you will be having for B/L/D ... crossing off the items on your shopping list as you "use them up" on your menu plan (cross out in pencil because, if you need to, you can still use that same shopping receipt to make up the next shopping "list" ;)

    A second way is also a "working backwards" way: don't plan ahead at all!
    Simply write down what you *have* eaten that day on your family calendar/diary. In 7 days time ... you have a one week menu plan ;) In 28 days time, you have a 4 week menu plan (and if you stick at it all year, you not only have 52 weeks menu plan, but a "seasonal" one too ;) )

    A third way is to make up a weekly menu plan based around the old fashioned idea of Monday will be a meal based on X; Tuesday will be a meal based on Y; Wednesday will be a meal based on Z (with X, Y, Z being the main ingredient)
    For Example: Sunday will be a roast meal; Monday will be an egg meal; Tuesday will be a cold cuts (from Sunday roast) meal; Wednesday will be a hearty soup meal (based on leftovers from roast); Thursday will be a vegetarian meal; Friday will be a fish meal and Saturday will be a Fake-Away meal.
    This is the easier to budget because a) your basic shopping list will remain the same; b) you barely have to think about what you are having (time saving) and c) it is based having a Roast and two other meals from it (so, that's half the week taken care of!)
    Another example: Monday (eggs); Tuesday (cheese); Wednesday (mince); Thursday (beans/pulses); Friday (fish); Saturday (vegetarian); Sunday (chicken) Then, you look up as many *different* meals you could make with those main ingredients. E.g mince = bolognaise, shepards pie, meatloaf, fake kebab, homemade burgers etc. Straight away that is 5 different meals or, put another way, 5 weeks of Wednesday meals ;)

    Hopefully, there will be something in this post which will be of some use to you.

    Wishing you luck in winning the budgeting/menu planning battle :)
  9. Lucylu79

    Lucylu79 Well-Known Member

    Wow thanks! That's some interesting reading! :)
  10. Pink Robin

    Pink Robin Member

    What fantastic advice from MrsSOS, I love it and will most definitely try this approach. I started a few weeks back and have completely fallen off the wagon, pure laziness on my behalf so I've decided to pull myself together and make another start tomorrow and this advice is just what I needed to get organised. Thank you
  11. Wegle

    Wegle Well-Known Member

    I never plan my weeks food, but I probably have 5 or 6 meals that I regularly eat that can all be created with staple foods. Stuff that we always have in the house is:

    Selection of favourite fresh veg - Usually mushrooms, leeks, tomatoes and cucumber
    Frozen bag of mixed veg
    Frozen broccoli
    Lighter cheddar
    Cottage Cheese
    Quorn family roast
    Philadelphia light
    Baked beans
    Tinned sweetcorn
    Hovis nimble bread - Kept in the freezer so I only get out 2 slices at a time
    Quorn Mince
    Quorn Sausages

    With these ingredients I can make the following meals:

    Sandwiches for work
    Roast dinner
    Egg, Chips and beans
    Spanish omlette
    Pastryless quiche
    Cheesy mushroom pasta
    Spaghetti Bolognaise
    Sausage & Mash
    And many more depending how creative I'm feeling!

    As I keep most of the stuff in the freezer or tins it means nothing goes off before I can use it. We do a weekly shop but have a monthly budget. Each week I'm typically just topping up the fresh stuff that we have run out of like veg and fruit. But if money is tight I won't buy the fresh veg as I always have a bag of mixed frozen veg which will go with any meal. The Quorn family roast, I can normally get 6 different meals out of, using it for roast, sliced in sandwiches, chopped up in omlette, added to salad etc.

    Obviously my diet is vegetarian but hubby is a meat eater and he's not on SW so I have to buy some slightly different foods for him. Our monthly budget is £200 for all grocery and household items (cleaning products, toilet roll etc.). We rarely go over this. My top tip for keeping the shopping in line, is not to buy something unless you have completely run out of it at home. Every thursday evening I do a stock take in our kitchen and write down only the things we have nothing of and these go on the shopping list. My other top tip is if you can spread your shopping across different stores. Where I am we have a lidl, home bargains and Tesco all within a mile of each other so I get all fruit and fresh veg from lidl, cleaning products and some branded goods at home bargains and nearly everything else in the Tesco value range.
  12. CurvyKitschen

    CurvyKitschen Well-Known Member

    thank you for this advice. i'm also completely crap at at menu planning so will definitely be using a few of your tricks :)
  13. CurvyKitschen

    CurvyKitschen Well-Known Member

    Ooo please let us know your recipes!! I'd love to know the one for the cheesy mushroom pasta :) also, is that £200 budget just of you and your hubby?
  14. Wegle

    Wegle Well-Known Member

    The cheesy mushroom pasta is so easy and quick.

    Take a stock cube and mix it with a small amount of boiling water so that it dissolves. Add the health extra amount if Kerry low low or Philly Light and stir till it completely melts. There's your cheese sauce done. Add to cooked pasta with some mushrooms fried in fry light.

    £200 is just me, hubby and the dog. When we first got together we barely had two pennies to rub together and we used to scrape through on about £100 a month but now we're earning better money we upped the budget to allow for treats and extras. I'm a bargain hunter and walk round the supermarkets with my calculator out to check I'm getting the absolute best value for our money. We buy a lot of the value store branded products as we honestly can not tell the difference for a lot of things. Cleaning products I always get from discount stores as they can be 3 times cheaper than they are in supermarkets. One thing that always annoyed me is Tesco do a healthy living cottage cheese and a value version. Both are free on SW and have nearly exactly the same nutritional value just one is marketed as healthy and is therefore more expensive! I bet a lot of people get caught out by these sneaky tricks.

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