I’m going to start a new, hopefully regular post. Based on my own meal planning schedule (and pay periods!) I do this
bi-weekly (see the update below). When I sit down to think about what we’ll be eating for the next couple of weeks I try to incorporate healthy plans (but by no means am I making “health food”, I don’t want to mislead anyone). I just want to make sure there are veggies and meats and starches. Low on fried foods (none is even better!). I also like to try out new recipes here ‘n there. Mix up flavors – Italian, Mexican, American, Asian, comfort foods, family favorites, etc. I’ll look at recipe sites or in my cookbook collection or magazines. I keep a couple boards for recipes on Pinterest: Foodie Pins and I just contribute to this board of healthy recipes: Healthy Recipes (U PIN 2).
I look at the ad for my favorite grocery store. The meals are centered around what meats are on sale. Next I look at produce. I don’t really care if Hamburger Helper or Ragu or Pepsi or Sunny Delight are on sale, I tend to stay away from those types of things anyway.
I sort of make my grocery list and dinner list in tandem. I like columns so I make a few according to how my store is set up, Produce; Dairy; Meat; Freezer; Grocery; Other. It works for me.
We have all three kids in school now, so that’s three lunches plus my own to prepare each day. I’ll let the boys choose a school lunch that sounds yummy each week. I used to only write down dinners and just try to wing the rest. But that turned out to be a terrible plan. I need to know what to buy for lunches, breakfasts, desserts, and even snacks. Other wise I’d overspend at the store and wind up with crummy options.
To see the latest Meal Plan just go to the bottom of this page. The “pingbacks” listed here are the posts I’ve done about Meal Planning. Anytime I can link straight to a recipe I will — eventually a lot of those links will lead you over to one of MY RECIPES! 😉 Sometimes the recipes live in my head so bare with me.
Do you plan out your family’s meals too? Or do you head to the store at 5:00 each day and buy whatever you’re craving? I’ve been there and its stressful. Give this a shot for a month, I bet you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is and how much money (and time!) you’ll end up saving and how much less wasted food you’ll see in your fridge.
*UPDATE: I decided that bi-weekly meal planning and shopping was… um, overwhelming as hell! I do it weekly. And its much more of a breeze. I still go off of my favorite grocery store’s weekly ads. And I am able to keep produce fresh this way too.
(I write mine in Google docs so you can download my files and just write over them.)