My Total Meal Planning FAIL

meal planning fail

Last week, I shared news of a project I’m working on with Haier to look at how our family uses and stores food. The hope is that with expert tips from Haier, I can reduce the amount of food we waste. This is a sponsored partnership.

Last week was fairly typical for me. We shopped with a view to how many evenings we were home, and then stocked the fridge accordingly.

How we Shop

So how did we do with our food shop last week. Here’s a list of the things I bought (and a few things that were already in the fridge):

  • Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Bacon
  • Steak Pie
  • Macaroni Cheese
  • Mini Cheeses
  • Wholemeal bread, rice
  • Strawberries, blueberries, grapes
  • Spinach
  • Salmon fillets
  • Chicken breasts
  • Salad (cucumber, tomatoes, onions)
  • Hummus
  • Greek Yoghurt
  • Soup

The hummus and grapes pretty much gets used up with snacking. And I have porridge for breakfast during the week, so that takes care of the berries and uses up the milk we buy, too.

With other foods, we had (frankly) mixed results.

Meal Planning Shame

My week often starts on a high point of domestic success and slides towards embarrassing failure the closer we get to the weekend.

Case in point: Monday I cooked chicken and salad (with Quorn sausages for Flea). Tuesday, I used up the microwave meals I’d bought because we’re always late home that day. Wednesday, I baked salmon and served with spinach and brown rice.

Thursday is where it all starts to go wrong.

I realised at 8am that I had four friends coming over for lunch and a first aid workshop. I realised at 8.15am that some men were outside my house digging up electricity cables, and I might not have any power.

Cue a panicked circuit of the M&S food hall picking up pretty things in packets that could feed my guests. I obviously over-shopped (and lovely friends also brought treats and cakes with them) so I had a LOT of leftovers.

A more sensible person than me would have diligently used up the leftovers, and stuck to the meal plan, but that’s not me. We were in Birmingham for the Ariana Grande concert so I let the kids get dinner at Subway on the M6, and didn’t use up anything.

We got home at 2am, and I grabbed a mini cheese and some hummus before bed.

On Friday, I went to Birmingham for a work event all day, and came home late, tired and not at ALL in the mood to cook.

I put some roasted veg in the oven with the idea that I’d eat it with a chicken breast, but I didn’t so much roast it as incinerate it. I blame Facebook for distracting me.

So we ordered Chinese food at 10pm, and ate it on the sofa while I polished my “Masterchef” trophy. *cough*

Saturday, we were out and about all day. We picked up lunch at McDonald’s, then we ate popcorn so by the evening, neither of us was hungry. We skipped dinner entirely. See what I mean about standards slipping?

Flea had a hockey tournament in Yorkshire on Sunday, so we were out from 6am to 6pm. I did pack up a lot of the fruit and leftover cake as a picnic for Flea and her friend. When we got home, I cooked a frozen pizza and served it with a green salad.

At the end of the week, my leftover count is pretty high. I haven’t used up all the yoghurt, bacon, mini cheese or potatoes, but those will all keep quite happily for another week.

So what food have we wasted this week while I’ve been meal planning?

Some of my food is definitely beginning to wilt. The half lettuce looks decidedly sorry for itself and the spinach is turning to slime. My challenge with spinach is that Flea won’t eat it, so I eat half the bag, and the rest just biodegrades in my fridge…

The mushrooms are still untouched and are now acquiring the look of something you discovered in a tomb that hasn’t been disturbed in a thousand years. I’ll probably bin them, if I’m honest.

Flea forgot to wrap up the cheese so while I won’t throw it away, I’ll need to cut away the edges and use them for dog treats (Teddy isn’t at ALL particular about cheese, happily).

My results from the past week are now being shared with Haier, and I’ll be back in my next update to share their tips on what we should be doing better to improve food storage and reduce waste. 

4 thoughts on “My Total Meal Planning FAIL”

  1. I have good intentions to prep and cook dishes all in ne go over the weekend so that it doesn’t get wasted. On the one hand I”m just too tired at the end of the day to start cooking and we go looking for unhealthy alternatives. Otoh, if I cook it all up on Saturday I’m likely to have a binge on Sunday and eat it all. I can’t win.

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