Deciding what to cook for dinner day in, day out, has to be one of the most energy-consuming bits of life admin around.
There’s just so much to take into consideration.
You want a meal that’s budget-friendly, pleases everyone, healthy, easy to make, and actually tastes good.
But when you find that rare mystical dish that ticks all these boxes, you can’t just make it over and over again, because people crave variety.
Basically, it’s a load of faff, and thus we are grateful to anyone who swoops in to make the whole thing easier.
Praise be to mum-of-two Caroline Campbell, then, as she has shared a rolling four-week meal plan that should eliminate a large chunk of the stress of catering for your family.
‘I hate meal planning and food shopping,’ Caroline wrote in the Feed Your Family On A Budget Facebook group. ‘With a full time job that’s pretty demanding and two children under five, it just feels like a chore that I don’t have time for.
‘So I’ve created a four-week rolling menu, will just keep repeating it and make changes as wanted/necessary.
‘I’ve tried to maximise any ingredients bought to save money and reduce waste. Like the pea and ham soup, that will use gammon from the Sunday and everything else from the cupboards or freezer.
‘I’ve then created shopping lists and done each of these orders for the next four weeks on Tesco. I know it’s not as budget as it could be but the time and hassle it saves is worth £7.99 for the delivery saver as Tesco is where I’d shop in person.’
As well as saving time and effort, sticking to the meal plan could help parents stick to a tighter food budget, as each week is around £40 for a family of four, including extras like toilet roll and cat food.
‘In four weeks when I get back to week one, all I have to do is hit re-order and double check the basket,’ Caroline added. ‘Thought I’d share in case it helped anyone else.’
It definitely has helped other people, as Caroline’s post has received plenty of comments from parents thanking her for the tool.
The spreadsheet is pretty simple and could easily be adapted to fit your needs.
It shows lunches and dinners for every day of the week for four weeks running, including chicken and bacon pasta bake, fajitas, and butterbean and sweet potato tikka masala.
Caroline also added symbols to show whether a meal was based in leftovers, needed to be defrosted, or was to be cooked in a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Genius.
One mum commented: ‘Omg I love! I’m going to screenshot, and borrow some of the meals, I have a toddler and am pregnant so will be good to have some new ideas.’
Another wrote: ‘£40-£46 a week for a family of 4! That’s amazing.’
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