I’ve gotten a couple questions about our meal planning lately so….Your wish–my command! Meal plannning was never something I even considered until I was visiting Sarah and noticed how much easier her life was when she had every meal for the week figured out. “Shit, I should do that” I thought. And so..my journey with meal planning began. What started as simply borrowing meals from my favorite blogs and working a couple days in advance has turned into full monthly planning binges the last week of every month. This does two things–saves your wallet and your waistline.
So where do I get my recipes? I’m a food magazine and Pinterest junkie, so I’m constantly pinning mouth-watering recipes and cutting things out of magazines that I deem “safe”. Safe = delicious for both Dane and I. I don’t want to spend hours making quinoa cakes when I know Dane is going to vomit them up in his napkin. With that in mind, I also try to gravitate toward recipes made only from fresh ingredients–think produce and a lean protein. Very, very little of what I cook comes from a can or the frozen section so I typically only shop in one half of the grocery store. Keeping that mentality when you shop makes things so much easier!
How does it work? I use the calendar template in Microsoft Word and enter in the dates for the next month. Then, I go through and put in any date nights or nights out that we have planned–that makes it easier down the road so you aren’t crossing off recipes mid-week and rotating your entire schedule. Then, I plug in recipes I’ve been dying to try on all the blank days. In a blank word document, I include recipes I have never tried before so I can quickly reference them when I grocery shop. I grocery shop on weekends, so before I leave the house, I write down all the ingredients for each recipe I plan to make that week. It sounds tedious I KNOW, but I swear it’s not and once you get a system going, it’s pretty flawless.
But how does it save my wallet? I used to spend hours in the grocery store mindlessly filling my cart with the same shit every week–regardless of if we were eating it or not. Do you know how quickly fresh produce and meat spoil? Very quickly. Do you know how quickly fresh fish spoils? Disgustingly fast. I knew I needed a better system, because food doesn’t come cheap–especially if you’re choosing to go the healthy route. This is why our country is overweight–unhealthy food is cheap! I digress, another post for another day.
In any case, we cut our grocery bill in half by buying only what we need and no extra. It works wonders and I highly recommend it.
Putting the system in place was kind of annoying at first. I felt like it was SO MUCH planning, but once that first week rolled around and all I had to do was glance at a Word document to get my grocery list–I released a big sigh of relief. And then every morning after that, when I knew exactly what I needed to get out to defrost–I sighed even louder. Hallelujah and #thankyoujesus for meal planning. I like when my life is easy.