Every day that we can put off going food shopping is a day we can protect more people around us. We all know we need to limit trips to the supermarket to once a week now. But if you’ve never been someone who plans what to eat or if no one ever taught the skills to use seemingly random odds and ends from the cupboard, you might be more tempted to nip out and grab things from the shops. I want to share some easy tips and habits to help you cook without going shopping…
Limit trips to the supermarket by planning a week or two of meals you can cook without going shopping more than once
I’ve been banging on about meal planning for years and have been running a busy family meal planning service for over a year. I started planning as a way to save money and cook without going shopping with a baby and a toddler, but now more than ever it’s a skill we should all be adopting so that we can limit trips to the supermarket. Here’s a quick guide to how to do it…
1. Do a stock take to help you cook without going shopping
Try and find 30 minutes today to look through your fridge, freezer and store cupboard, make a list in a notebook of everything you have. Then cross things off as you use them.
2. Make a plan of what you’re going to eat on what day
Write out a grid on a piece of paper with 7-10 days of breakfast, lunch and dinner headers. Plan that some meals you’ll make a double batch of and freeze so that you have an easy dinner to look forward to in a week or two. My soup and stew recipes all work really well for this.
3. Use what you already have as a starting point
Start filling in what you’ll have for each meal. Start off with using anything that’s on its last legs – wilting veg, bendy carrots, half open cheese. Combine it with things from your store cupboard to make a meal. If you need ideas, head to my instagram and tell me what you’re struggling with and I’ll send you some ideas.
4. Plan to make some flavour boosters
Make some fresh flavour boosters to keep in the fridge – turn limp greens into pesto and it will add brightness to meals all week. You can also make jars of salad dressings to add to noodles, soups and roasted veg. They can be added to simple basics or leftovers to make them taste new.
5. Embrace frozen fruit and veg so you can cook without going shopping
Plan to use your fresh stuff, or the things that will go off quickly in the first half of your meal plans, then as you use up your fresh stuff, use frozen/tinned veg instead. It’s better for your health to have a day having frozen corn and peas with your meals than it is to go to the supermarket for a bag of salad.
6. Minimise your time in the supermarket by going with a clear plan
When you do have to go to the shop, make your list by looking at your stocktake and your meal plan and making a list of what you need to buy. Write your list of everything you need divided by aisle. You’ll get round more quickly, supermarkets aren’t a fun place to hang out now, and you’ll delay your next trip.
If you’re not great at thinking on your feet as you shop, have a think about substitutions before you go and add them to your list e.g. canned chick peas (any canned beans, dried chickpeas, dried haricot beans), fresh berries (grapes, frozen berries, canned pineapple or mandarins).
7. Let me do all the thinking for you so you can cook without going shopping too often
If this is all sounding too alien, why not join my meal plan service and you’ll get a month of recipes, meal plans and weekly shopping lists sent to you. Then you can use the shopping lists I’ve given you to do either one big shop a week, or even once every two weeks, knowing you’ll have everything you need for loads of delicious meals.
I’m offering 50% off an annual meal plan service membership during lockdown. Click here to find out more and sign up.