Meal Planning

4.18.17 How To Make a Shopping List
One of the biggest parts of meal planning/home management is keeping running lists. In our home, we have a notepad that is attached to the refrigerator where we keep track of things that start to run out, it’s a good reference when making grocery lists for the next week so nothing gets forgotten.

Another list that is essential in running our home is the actual meal planning list, I make that one by checking what ingredients we already have against what I might still need to complete  the recipes. What helps the most is choosing meals that share several common ingredients, it will keep your lists shorter and your cost down. Once you’ve made sorted out everything you need to buy, check your local grocery store ads. I personally (at this stage in my life) will go to different grocery stores to save money based on what I need and what’s on sale at each store.

For example:

Kroger
Tuna
Green Beans
Chicken broth
Black beans

Whole Foods
Bread
Onions

Costco
Eggs
Milk
Kitchen Cleaner

Working my lists out this way saves on average (as I have figured out over the last six weeks) $15.22. That’s gas money for the week, so needless to say I’m willing to save that. The final reason having a shopping list is SO important is because it keeps you on budget and you are less likely to aimlessly wander up and down the aisle collecting whatever looks good and risking spending more money than you planned.

4.13.17 Why Meal Plan?
For most people who prep, this means a painstaking Sunday afternoon measuring out and sorting portions of food knowing that no matter what- what they eat on Friday will never be nearly as good as at was when they eat it on Monday. When Jacob and I very first got married, I was one of these people. For some this works, however I have since found it best to plan my meals on Sunday and only make enough for the next two days out. Meaning that I cook mine and Jacob’s lunch for Monday and Tuesday on Sunday, then Wednesday’s and Thursday’s lunches are made on Tuesday and so on. I find that this pretty much eliminates the problem of getting to my Friday lunch that I made on Sunday being dried out and tasteless.

The Process:

  1. Brainstorm things Jacob and I would like to eat for the next week in my daily planner. When we can’t think of anything, Pinterest is our friend.
  2. Narrow down the brainstorm into different meals that share common ingredients.
    For example- use a veggie soup recipe that involves the same ingredients as a stir fry recipe. If I make turkey burgers one night I may choose to make chilli thce next so I an use the rest of the ground turkey.
  3. Check the grocery store ads, you may adjust your recipes for the week based on sales
  4. Make your shopping list
  5. Shop!
  6. Be proud of how much money you just saved, you can put gas in the car now!
  7. Pre cut/sort raw ingredients if you so choose, I don’t always do this- depends on the week.
  8. During the downtime you have while cooking, make some lunches!

This may seem time consuming, but I know for me, a planning session never takes more than 20 minutes out of my Sunday. Then all I have to do is shop and sort! Obviously you can adjust these steps to fit any schedule, and once you have a routine set it’s easy to maintain- I promise!

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