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Posts Tagged ‘meal planning’

 

Hello Everyone!

Sometimes, a person has a skill, knack, craft, etc that is just SO GOOD that they simply must share it with the rest of the world.

My amazing, applause worthy skills are: my meal planning skills and my list making skills. When the two are combined….watch out…it’s mind blowing.

Now, I’m sure most of you make some sort of grocery list with things you NEED to buy…and then just kind of “wing-it” from there. I used to use this approach, but found I was spending WAY more then I wanted to on food (most of whichI would  just throw out in a month). No good.

When we moved to WI, I completely revamped my take on grocery shopping. The key is simple: Plan your work, and work your plan.

We do grocery shopping on Saturdays, so on Thursday or Friday nights I sit down with a notepad and plan out a weeks worth of meals; including all the ingredients I’d need to buy for those meals and  the weekly “staples” (milk, toilet paper, sweet tea vodka…you know, the essentials).

I don’t plan meals for Saturdays since I like to have at least one day off a week from cooking…it’s usually a cheese and crackers kind of night.

I then brainstorm 6 different dinner ideas based on what sounds tasty (and based on what I already have in my pantry or freezer). I have an incredibly hard time making the same thing 2 weeks in a row, so my list of meals varies every week.

When I go grocery shopping I like to be in and out of the store in 15 minutes (or less). I’ve found that any more time than that and I wind up with way too many “non-essential” impulse items in my cart; resulting in a SUPER high total at the register. Get in and get out!

Ok, here is a step by step look at how I go about planning our meals and making my shopping list:

I start with a blank “note” on my phone titled “Weekly Meals”. I then write out the days of the week (abbreviated) so I can visualize everything better. Next, I add my “shopping list” underneath the week’s meals, so everything is all in one place. **Please note the date of this screen shot is from July 25th. Yes, I’ve had this post in the back of my mind since July…It’s now mid-September! Wow! **

Next, I brainstorm ideas as to what I’d like to cook/eat during the week. I usually change my mind about 5 times before finally deciding on 6 meals. I should also mention that I almost always plan to serve leftovers on the nights when I have plans (like book club, Mom’s night out, etc). I’m pretty sure I had a Holistic Mom’s meeting that Thursday night. When this happens, I make sure that one meal will guarantee leftovers for another night.

Now comes the really fun part, making a list of all the ingredients I’ll need to buy on Saturday. I write down ingredients meal by meal, then I consolidate. For example, I needed peppers for both the Chicken Tortilla Soup and Arroz con Pollo. So I added a generic “Bell Pepper”; then clarified how many I’d need  in parentheses. I also try to keep food “categories” together (ie: list all the produce together, meat together, canned good together, etc). That way I’m less likely to forget an item and I won’t have to walk all the way back to the opposite side of the grocery store to get said item. **Obviously I did not do this in the above list. I’m pretty sure I made this list AS we were in the car headed to the store…and I probably forgot at least 2 things. Learn from my mistakes.**
Now that you are more knowledgeable in the art of meal planning: go make that list, shop til you drop, save some money AND buy yourself something pretty while you’re at it. Maybe some new shoes…or a pie…or both! You deserve it!

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