I have always shopped weekly with a meal plan sketched out and a shopping list - and I shop on a fairly contained budget and we eat well! Over the years my cooking has changed and improved (I think) from mainly using processed foods when Dewi and I had our first flat, to mainly cooking from scratch now with fresh and healthy ingredients. The exception to this is when I am ill or life goes crazy and then I buy a few processed things like breaded fish, frozen pizza, pre-made fresh pasta bags etc and make use of them until I feel better again!! I have gradually evolved from eating meat every day to eating it about three days out of the week. This has happened as I have discovered delicious meals to make from lentils, beans, rice and my current favourite ingredient...... pearl barley!!
Shopping weekly has become a tiresome chore so I am attempting to change our main shop to monthly and eventually quarterly, with a weekly shop for fresh veg and fruit as well as dairy products. Pictured here is my first such order - this should be three months worth of supplies of this part of my shopping but as this is my first order I'm sure that I will tweak the quantities and types of foods as we go! This was from the company Suma Wholefoods and consisted of rice, beans, lentils, tinned tomatoes, pearl barley, pumpkin seeds, nuts, porridge oats (10kg of!!), brown rice, whole wheat pasta (fusilli, spaghetti, shells and lasagna sheets), apple juice concentrate (for the girls), ginger cordial (for me!), flour, sugar......erm, oh yes, tomato paste! Dewi's face was a picture when it arrived but he will see the sense of it I'm sure!! I also did a months shop of things like cereal, bread, the meat that we will eat, mayonnaise, and some frozen veg. I still have some work to do to find sources for the part-bake rolls that Dewi loves to take to work with him. I think that will have to wait until we can have a chest freezer though as buying in bulk requires serious storage capacity!!
Before I did any of the shopping I wrote a list of a month's meals by day, then it was easy to write a shopping list for the weekly veg and dairy shop. I simply scanned down the list and jotted the ingredients for that week or ten days. I mainly planned main meals but also thought about what yummy hearty soups I would make for lunch, and what baking we might do for snacks. I dabbled with the idea of making each night of the week a certain 'food' night such as Monday - pasta, Tuesday - sausage, Wednesday - beans etc. It helped me focus and get meals down as there were so many recipes in my head (I surprised myself with how many I knew actually - way too many for a month!!). I think that this will change over time as well as we find out what we like to eat when and what I have time to cook on which day!
Now, this is a work in progress as I have strayed from the list already - chips for tea tonight anyone??!! But I am pleased that I have just jumped in because in the past I have had a tendency to over think and over plan and then never actually get anything done! It was hard to fit in the time to plan and order and organise this but I am convinced that it will be good for us (and me as main chef and shopper!!). I am keeping receipts and lists, and keeping notes on what is working and what isn't - I will update some time with how it's going and any yummy recipes I find!