Meal Planning 101

Meal Planning 101

Today I want to share my meal planning process with you. Before I started meal planning, I found myself becoming stressed out quite often about what to make for dinner, I’d wind up making multiple trips to the grocery store throughout the week and always ending up with no food to cook on the weekend. That would often lead to getting takeout. The thing is, I truly enjoy cooking. But when I don’t have a set plan for the week it’s so much easier to forget to take things out to defrost or manage to not have all the things I need for complete meals. Something had to change, so I decided to try meal planning. It has made a huge change! With meal planning, I already know what is for dinner when I get up in the morning. I know what prep work is needed and that gives me an idea of when to start. It has made all the difference for me! I have gone from rushing to get dinner figured out and made by the time my husband gets home, to looking forward to when I can start making our meal and feeling genuinely proud of the finished product.

Let’s get started!

. . .

Make A Master List

pexels-photo-110473The first thing I did was write down every meal that I know how/ like to/ want to make for my family. In doing this process I realized that not only do I have many meals that can be made without needing to be repeated week after week, but also that there are some very enjoyable meals I hadn’t made in a while because they may need a little more planning than I can do last-minute (either ingredient-wise or prep wise).

Create Menus

pexels-photo-1640773The next thing I did was to make weekly menus. I looked at my master list and chose 7 meals. By doing this I can
balance out how many times a week we eat pasta, or red meat, and also make sure we aren’t eating the same meals every week.

Start Traditions

pexels-photo-1566837While I was meal planning I kept in mind that it is very common for us to be busy on Saturdays, and this usually leads to me not wanting to cook a big meal Saturday evening so we get takeout a lot. Because of this, I decided why not try making our own homemade pizzas on Saturdays? This way we still get the treat of eating pizza, but we save money by making it ourselves!

In contrast to busy Saturdays, we usually like to have laid back Sundays. Because of this, I like making a pot of soup on Sundays. Our favorites are Kale Soup and Chicken Noodle. Both involve a bit of prep, but since Kevin is home on weekends he can keep Julia entertained so that I can chop and peel all my vegetables and really put time and effort into making the soup. This is something I really enjoy but definitely not an option during the week.

Grocery Shop Smart and Efficiently

pexels-photo-1992912We recently starting getting our groceries through Wal-Mart Pick Up (it’s free!) and it has been a real game-changer! After I choose which weekly menu I would like to make, I can select everything I need for our meals that week on Wal-Mart’s website. By ordering online and picking up in-store (without ever having to leave the car!) it has helped us from impulse buys that so often happen when browsing the aisles. It also helps us keep track of how much we are spending on groceries and which brands are more affordable. It is so much easier to browse items and prices through their website than by doing so in person which is not the easiest with a busy little toddler in tow! The only things I do not buy from Wal-Mart pickup is meat and most fruit. I prefer to pick out my own meat at the grocery store near us and Wal-Mart has let me down with their picking of fruit in the past so that is a bummer but not the biggest deal. However, I will say, Wal-Mart (ours at least) is VERY responsive to customer reviews of their pick up service. We have had very few issues but each time we reported an issue in our survey the problem never occurred again. So I highly recommend trying out their grocery pick up if it is offered in your area!

 

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