Shop to a list - man

Plan your meals


Planning your meals and a preparing a shopping list can save you time and money

It helps at the shops and it helps make life a lot easier when you know what’s for dinner and you’ve got all the ingredients you need


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Planning your meals a few days or a week ahead has many advantages;

  • Save money – If you shop to a list developed from your meal plan you will be less likely to impulse buy or opt for take-away because you will already have everything you need at home
  • Save time – By planning your meals well, with dishes like stews or casseroles you can cook once and eat twice. You can also spend less time shopping 
  • Reduce food waste – You buy only the food and the quantities you really need
  • Reduce stress – ‘What’s for dinner?’ won’t be a problem
  • Improve nutrition – Planning your meals with family members can encourage fussy eaters to try different food. Meal planning can also help you enjoy a healthy, varied and balanced diet. You will be able to see which food groups you are serving and when

Top tips

  • Think about what meals you’d like to cook for the week ahead and write down the ingredients for each recipe
  • How you plan meals is up to you. You can start by planning three dinners or every meal for the whole week
  • Think about what ingredients can be used in more than one meal, such as mince in spaghetti bolognaise one night and tacos another night
  • Check what you already have in the fridge, freezer and cupboards that can be used up
  • When cooking meals like soups and stews, consider whether you can freeze the extra portions. That way you just need to reheat them for an easy meal another time
  • Save the LFHW Seasonal Food Guide, so you know what's in season


More Information

Meal Planning - Action Card 

The LFHW Seasonal Food Guide

Watch our video for more meal planning tips

Sign up to Food Smart for tips, help and advice

Additional tools

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) - Australian Dietary Guidelines

Nutrition Australia - Healthy Eating Pyramid