I thought I'd take a few moments to write a little bit about something we've recently started doing that has made a big difference to us. Over the last few months we've gotten serious about making a weekly meal plan and sticking to it. This new way of thinking and planning has resulted in some very postitive things happening, namely, that we are eating more thoughtful and healthful meals, and we are actually meeting our monthly food budget.
One of our biggest issues before meal planning was that we (both of us, but mostly me) would make a last minute dinner plan several days a week, resulting in too many trips to the grocery for dinner ingredients AND additional hunger-induced purchases. This kind of shopping was doing a number on the amount of money we spent each month, and it was also wearing me out. A new plan of action was needed. Or...better yet, meal planning (and following said meal plan) to the rescue!
I'd love to hear your tips and advice, but so far here's how we've been approaching the whole thing at our house:
Each weekend (usually Sunday morning) I sit down with my beloved binder full of favorite recipes, my computer (for bookmarked recipes) and a few of my most used cook books and begin coming up with a plan. It is my goal to plan meals that are simple and healthy without being boring. I am also committed to spending a little more for quality ingredients whenever possible.
I begin by planning all of our dinners because it is my goal for dinner to provide leftovers to be eaten for lunch the next day. Do you do leftovers? We love leftovers at our house, however, I was just talking to a friend who said her family (mainly her husband and son) won't touch 'em at all. Strange birds.
After our weekly dinners are planned, I start thinking about what staples we need to restock and what snack items we could use that week. Felix eats snack every day after he rests and some of his most preferred snacks lately are: apples and cheddar; edamame; pretzels and peanut butter; and hummus with celery. He is also quite fond of dried fruit, which we now limit after hearing from our pediatric dentist how bad it can be for children's teeth. Yikes.
Along with whatever we need for meals, my weekly shopping list always includes eggs, milk, bread, and greens (for breakfast, dinner, and smoothies).
Each week I also try to make a big batch of salsa, hummus, steel cut oats (made in my slow cooker and stored in the refrigerator for breakfast), and homemade yogurt. We have lots of smoothies and smoothie pops because homemade yogurt is super economical.
Monday: roasted chicken, sweet potato fries, salad
Tuesday: sauteed kale and mushrooms over polenta with fried eggs on top
Wednesday: lemon pasta with roasted broccoli, salad
Thursday: veggie enchiladas, spicy adobo rice, avocado slices
Friday: homemade whole wheat pizza dough with veggies and cheese, salad
I would love to hear how you go about food shopping and planning?