Mum reveals bulk cooking routine that saves her up to £100 a month
- Jenn Carnaby, 33, cooks a week’s worth of curry, cottage pie and stew at a time
- Meal prepping helps Jenn’s family save up to £100 a month
- Jenn says great trays and organisation are the key
- Jenn provides tips for getting started on doing the same
Being lazy when it comes to food is incredibly relatable - just think about ordering a takeaway, buying a sandwich for lunch or making toasties for the kids yet again. But one super-organised mum has put us all to shame by showing off her bulk cooking skills, which saves her a fortune, not to mention lots of time too.
Jenn Carnaby, 33, a probation officer from Manchester, started meal prepping when she joined Slimming World, and has soon made the money-saving exercise part of her weekly routine.
Jenn, a mum of three, told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: "I have been meal prepping now for around three months. I started as I joined Slimming World and found it difficult to stick to the plan while working full time.
"I make all sorts! Chicken or beef curry, spaghetti bolognese, cottage pie, chilli, sweet potato curry, vegetable stew and so much more. Anything that is freezable I will turn into a meal!”
Jenn plans out her meals meticulously and spends time bulk cooking on one chosen day of the week to save her time later on. Meal prepping also saves her a huge amount of money: usually up to £100 a month.
"I spend one day a week, normally Sunday, and bulk cook everything,” she adds. "Firstly the rice, pasta, mash or whatever is going with the meal, then the main meal itself, then the vegetables.
"Meal prepping is fantastic as when you get home from work and want a home-cooked meal but don’t have the time then you can just pick an already cooked meal from the freezer. When you work full time and have kids anything that saves time to ensure you all eat a healthy meal is always a winner in my eyes.
"We save a great deal by meal-prepping as it removes the last minute takeaway option. Also, there is less food wastage with things going off in the fridge as I do my shopping on the Saturday and prep on the Sunday.
"When we don’t meal prep then we can spend up to £50 a week on nipping to the shop for bits each day, so we can save between £80 and £100 a month by prepping.
"I normally spend about £30 to £35 depending on if I am prepping for me and my partner or all of us including the kids. If they have clubs or after school things then I tend to not prep for the kids as they eat elsewhere.
“To fit it all in, we have a chest freezer in the shed. If we are low on space then I only prep a few days at a time or prep the main meal in bulk and then cook the sides like rice, pasta or salad the day we eat it.”
Jenn says that if you’ve never meal prepped before, organisation is the key to getting it right.
"Plan your meals, write down a shopping list and don’t put it off! It will save you so much time further down the line. Buy good microwaveable and dishwasher-friendly trays - Amazon do some fantastic prepping trays for anyone that is looking to start,” she adds.
"It feels satisfying and good knowing that your meals are ready for the week, whether it be dinners for work or tea for the family. As I’m the only member of the family doing Slimming World, it also makes me feel confident that I can stick to the plan if the family decide to eat out or have a takeaway.”
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, says: “If you’re always running to your local shop to buy bits you’ve forgotten, or feel too exhausted after work to cook, Jenn’s advice is fantastic, as it’s a win-win, saving both time and money.
"Once you get into the routine of meal prepping every single week, you’ll immediately get the satisfaction of knowing your whole week of meals is catered for - and that you can enjoy a home-cooked dinner every night rather than worrying about what to cook at the last minute!
"Plus, it’s much healthier too, as you’ll know every time exactly which ingredients have gone into your dish - something you never know when you buy a ready meal or a takeaway."
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