Do you plan meals in advance? I know that there are whole blogs and websites devoted to this. I have only just started regularly planning our meals in the last few months. I’ve dabbled at it before but always given up after a week or two. But since I started working on eating more healthy, and therefore my family is eating more healthy, I have found that meal planning helps me a LOT for a couple of reasons. First, I am kinda of lazy when it comes to food. For breakfast and lunch, if it is not easy for me to grab and go then I am not going to eat it. I am not going to take the time chop, mix, and cook something. Instead I am going to slap a slice of ham between a couple pieces of bread and call it a sandwich. Second, my day is a whole lot less stressful if I know in advance what I am making for dinner. If I wait until the morning, or afternoon!, to figure out what I am making for supper then it gets crazy. And, I think I end up spending more money on groceries because I have to run to the store to pick up meat because I didn’t thaw anything or have to go and get something that I need but ran out of, etc.
Does meal planning take time and effort? Yes. It probably takes me about an hour to go through my recipes, figure out what I wannt ot cook that week, and make my grocery list. But, let’s be honest, I’m sitting on the sofa with my laptop, it’s not like I am breaking a sweat here. And, that is time that is made up in the time that I save at the grocery store and the time that I save each evening when I cook supper and know exactly what I need to have out and do.
Tools that help me plan my meals are pretty basic: my coupons, the grocery ads for the week, and Pinterest. As I find something that I want to cook, or have cooked before and know we’ve liked, I pin it to my boards. Then as I am planning meals for the week, I look through my boards and decide what I am making that week. Then I go through each recipe and write out my grocery list. And I write down everything that I will need—yes, my list is looong. But I write down everything so that I don’t try to remember anything and so that when I get to the store I don’t pick up a container of sour cream and then get home and find that I already had 2 containers. (which has happened in the past) I also have found that when I make a detailed list I actually get thru the grocery store more quickly because there is no going back across the store for something I forgot. One more thing that I do, is I have a little menu board on my counter on which I list the meals for each day. This is helpful for me because it reminds me of what I am doing each day and the kids can look at it and know what we are eating that day.
So, this is what I am cooking this week….
We are supposed to have some cold days, so we are having soup twice and chili. With these I will add a sandwich, bread, or cornbread to round out the meal. With the other entrees, I always have frozen veggies on hand to make. I also have potatoes, rice, and polenta in the pantry. I know that I will be making the roasted broccoli this week and the parmesan green beans. I also try to keep salad makings in the fridge too that I can toss together to add to a meal. And that’s it. If you find this info useful, let me know. If ya’ll like it and use the recipes then I will post meals each week. But I gotta have feedback.