Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Week Six: Simple Meal Planning

Welcome to our last week of our challenge ladies!


Meal planning is a crutch for so many wives and mamas, but once mastered helps to promote peace in our days and extra money in our wallets. This week, I will share with you how I meal plan.

Let me start by saying, I do not plan meals for each day. I plan by the week with one day be left overs. I also live in the middle of no where and shop every other week.

I typically do my planning on Saturday then shop Monday morning if possible. Mondays tend to be less busy and many of our grocery stores restock on Monday or Wednesday.

I use two sheets of paper, nothing fancy, to do my planning. One for my meal plan and one for my list. I also keep a running list written on my fridge as we run out of items (like ketchup or salad dressing).

In the past, as I've made meals, I've kept record of which ones my family have liked. I always use these as base meals when planning. For us, this includes:

Homemade pizza
Spaghetti
Tatertot Casserole
Curry
Chilli
Roast Chicken

As I begin to plan, I write out the meals I will need to prepare for:

Breakfast
Morning snack
Lunch
Afternoon Snack
Afternoon Tea
Before Dinner Snack
Dinner
Evening Snack

Many of these meals are staples in our home. For instance, Breakfast is almost always waffles with eggs and fruit, or cereal with fruit, or toast with smoothie. Since I know these are the three that are wanted and rotated, I keep the ingredients on hand at all times. Lunch and Afternoon tea are generally sandwich or soup based with salad or other veggie dish.

Snacks tend to be similar. I know that I like to keep them well rounded, a protein with either a grain, veggie or fruit. I have a long list I made up awhile ago and depending on what is on sale I will buy items to pair from that list. Things like:

Hummus or Peanut Butter and veggies
Crackers and Cheese
Yogurt with seeds and fruit
Applesauce with nuts and seeds

I purposefully plan for meals to end up staples like this to make it easier on me. My little one knows that before bed, he always gets bread with butter or nut butter and tea or warm milk. The routine helps him feel calm and me stay sane!

For dinners, I plan at least two weeks at a time. This will include two dinners being left overs. I use my base list from earlier to start. I then make complete meals by selecting protein, cooked veggie and a carb. Most of my meals are very simple a meat with cooked greens or squashes and mashed potatoes or rolls. I almost always serve a salad on the side. This means that even when I try something new, I have less chance of ruining the whole thing haha! Really, keep it simple. I know my family likes meals like this along with pasta dishes and curries. Don't feel the need to be elaborate or over prepare, none of my meals take more than an hour and a half to prep and cook.

Now for your list. Since we shop for two weeks at a time, I make use of frozen items as much as I can in my meals. I use a full notebook piece of paper and organize my list by produce, pantry items, meats, refrigerated and frozen items. After you've made your list, make sure to add the items from your running list. Then gather your coupons and sales flier if you have them (I like to consult these as I'm making my meal plan so I tend to have them in the house). Put all these together where you will remember them with your reusable bags if you use them for when you head to the store!

I hope this has helped some of you ladies!

Have a blessed week,

Audrey

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