How To Meal Plan & Still Be Spontaneous

At 25 I have finally discovered that nipping to Tesco every day for food is tedious and expensive... but I have also discovered that being very strict on the meal planning isn't for me too. Somehow the minute something is written down in stone that I need to be eating it... I somehow end up eating out, or hating the thought of it. I hate being tied down, I love options...

So here is what works for me, how I save money, how I do my weekly shop, and how I meal plan, without the planning.

1. Pick Flexible Food
Mince, Chicken, Rice, Pasta, basic items that can be used in countless meals, so buying these items mean you are not restricted in meals you can make from them. Not fancying Spag Bol? Make Chilli from the same main ingredients. 

2. Choose Veg That Will Last
Veg is a b*tch. It goes off so fecking quickly. So if your main meals include veg, opt for unpackaged, loose, unchopped... the minute a supermarket puts vegetables into packaging it is destined to go off quicker... mainly due to having to go to a factory to be packaged. Also forget pre chopped, it will go off within 48 hours, so if you have a change of plans, you will be throwing your money into the bin. Plus it is typically cheaper to buy loose! Win win. 

3. The Freezer is your Best Friend
Seriously, learn to love it. Love being spontaneous? That chicken, mince, pizza you bought making you feel like you can't? Pop it in the freezer. You then have it to use whenever you need it, and will end up saving your bum when you realise your out of food at the end of a week. You can also buy frozen veg, I love my bag of frozen chopped onion, so quick and easy.. and doesn't go off. 

4. Learn your Staples
Everyone has different staple items, but one should always be a full meal you have to use as a "Cant be bothered to go out" option. Ours is always quick to make. Usually it's pasta, cheese, pasta sauce and a mattesson sausage. takes less than 20 minutes to make, doesn't go off quickly. 

5. Versatile Items
Some items are worth always having around. They are the ones you open the cupboard and think "oh! I could use that" My top picks are: wraps, pasta, nandos sauce (or some other form of marinade), cheese, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree & seasonings. These are the things you need to inspire something different... the things that if you have around... you don't feel like you need to run to Tesco just yet. 

6. Plan, but don't Restrict
I typically look at my week and end up choosing 5-6 meals I want to make that week, I will not set them on days, I want to be able to choose what I am in the mood for, why restrict yourself? I will pick 3-4 which include veg or unfreezable items.. the other two will be either completely freezable, or cupboard items which will last at least a week... as long as you leave one of those items to the end you shouldn't have to bin anything. No one likes throwing out food. 

7. Pick Meals You Actually Enjoy
Sounds daft but there are meals that everyone eats but isn't excited over.. ours is Stir Fry, its the one that if we say "Stir fry for tea tonight" you get a audible sigh... from all of us... just stop ordering it, stop eating it... 

8. It's OK to be Predictable
We love Macaroni Cheese in my house, my son would eat it 7 days a week given a chance, so every single week we have it once... and that is totally OK, you don't need to have thousands of meal options, just ones you love. Sure try new things, but its ok to say you prefer your usuals... they are usual for a reason! 

9. Make a Shopping List 
If you are going food shopping DO NOT GO WITHOUT KNOWING. Sounds so silly but if you walk into a shop without a plan you will end up spending £80 on half a meal and a whole load of cr*p. Do not go unprepared. You will end up binning things. 

10. Enjoy Food, Have Fun, Do Not Let Your Fridge Control You
If you have been invited out for a meal with friends, don't say no because you have chicken going off, do not let food items control your social life, they are not worth it... especially when you can freeze them! Save money on your weekly shop (all my top tips here) and use what you save on a meal out with your loved ones, enjoy your time and don't let schedules and plans control you. You are the boss :) 

Do you meal plan? What are your top tips? Let me know in the comments below :)

If you enjoyed this check out:

What I Eat In a Day (Non Typical)

How To Save Money & Still Buy Makeup

How To Save Money On Everyday Items

I would LOVE it if you could follow me on Bloglovin' (I follow back too) 


  1. This is what I do ! Saves us eating crap too lol xoxo

  2. I don't really plan the meal, I know I wouldn't stick to the plan :) I make sure to cook at home most of the time so it will minimise the amount I spend out. Once in awhile it is good to eat out, but when you do it all the time, it is not good for the budget :) When the veggies start to get soft, I chop and freeze them so nothing is wasted.

    Ela BellaWorld

  3. Personally I love meal planning and prepping. It really saves me from going to the local chicken & chips shop every other night haha xx

  4. Great post :) I just love food x

  5. Great post! Picking meals that we love the most it's the best thing to do! x

    Have a nice week,

  6. These are such great tips! Losing spontaneity is one of my biggest worries with meal planning!

    Abby Talks

  7. Such amazing tips, Erin! I find making a list of things I actually need (not want) is super helpful =)

    Edye | Http://

  8. Always making a shopping list! Such a must, isn't it, babes?
    Such a great post! I hate making Tesco runs every day or every other day, so annoying. We get our weekly shop done once and then I would make a quick run after work another time during the week. Yes, there are emergencies & sometimes I need to go again lol.
    I always plan my meals but love playing with them and trying out new things. If I planned Friday to be a pasta night, it's not set in stone and we might end up having burgers or ordering in a cheeky Domino's :D
    xox Nadia


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