As I've previously mentioned, I love Meal Plans and use one every week for our household. I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch of Sainsbury’s Feed Your Family for £50 campaign and blogged about it here. As I said in my previous blog post we were able to try out some samples of recipes that were in the First Meal Plan.
However, what I didn't mention at that point was that we were also lucky enough to be asked to try out the Second Meal Plan as a sneak preview. To enable us to do this we all received the entire £50 worth of groceries on the shopping list for the Second Meal Plan, which was released this week on 25th May.
I must confess that I was very apprehensive about trying out a Meal Plan that wasn't compiled by me. I know I'm a control freak but that doesn't mean that I'm not game to give things a whirl on occasion. Therefore with the lure of a weeks free groceries we decided to try it out.
When the groceries were delivered there was an enormous amount of food and loads of it was from the Sainsbury’s Basics range. I'm very fond of a bargain so I didn't mind in the slightest and had already tried quite a few of the products that arrived.
Breakfast options on weekdays were either peanut butter on toast or muesli with banana. One of my daughters doesn't eat nuts so that put paid to both those options for her. She ended up eating her usual Weetabix, Cornflakes or porridge on the muesli days then had jam on toast instead of peanut butter on the toast days. The rest of us followed the plan for breakfast and it was rather tedious until we got through to the more exciting weekend options on the plan. We were very relieved to have a respite from just cereal and toast.
The lunches were really sandwich heavy and my two older daughters have school dinners so it was just my 4yo, my husband and I that tried the lunches. My 4yo loved the lunches, however my husband and I felt they were rather uninspiring and mostly ended up having leftovers from the previous night's dinner for lunch. Also the kids wouldn't touch the Sunday lunch of Three Bean Mackerel Salad at all and they usually eat almost anything. It was OK but not the tastiest meal of the week. My husband was distinctly unimpressed and I think we would've preferred the vegetarian option of fresh mozarella and added some fresh herbs from our garden.
However, the dinners were very good and we all thoroughly enjoyed them. Hurrah!!! The Roasted Vegetables with Chicken and Rice was a real hit with my daughters and really easy on a rather hectic Monday evening.
|Photo courtesy of Sainsbury's|
The dinner on Wednesday of Sausage, Tomato and Cannellini Pot with Mash was really filling and great comfort food for a slightly chilly spring night.
|Photo courtesy of Sainsbury's|
And of course the Roast Pork, with roast potatoes, carrots & broccoli was a winner on Sunday evening. I would use fresh broccoli as the frozen stuff is rather minging.
So what did we really think?
As I said in my previous post, if you’re on a really tight budget, have little tolerance for faffing about with meal plans, and want a simple solution, the Sainsbury’s meal plan is great value for money. There's a handy tip on each recipe for ideas to make it vegetarian.
Bear in mind though that not all the food will be to your taste and the weekday breakfasts definitely lack variety. The bread is rather thin and the muesli is dusty and slightly tasteless and without the banana added would be truly dire. If you don't like the lunch options, don't be alarmed as you'll probably have leftovers from dinner for lunch as the dinner portions are rather generous.
It would be fabulous if they incorporated some of the recipes from the Family Value Meal Plans tucked away on another section of their site as they are rather more inspiring and offer a bit more choice of vegetables than the courgette, and broccoli that this plan uses lots of.
We'd give it another go if we had a really tight month moneywise but I'm content to be a control freak and still do my own meal plans each week. I will however still make a few of the dinners as they were a real hit with my daughters and my rather picky husband.
The Third Meal Plan is due to be released on 15th June. I will be very interested to see what recipes are included and may even try some out. If I do I'll be sure to blog about it.