Meal Planning

Do you plan your meals for the week?  I do.  I have a full time job, write, take classes, have children, workout, have a house to keep up and life to enjoy.  To accomplish everything, I need to plan what we are going to eat before hand.

I have limited funds.  We are on a budget, like most of America, and to stay within my grocery budget I plan my meals.  I get groceries once a week.  It helps me to stay on budget, if I can cut down, the number of times I go to the store each week, and to do this I plan what meals we are going to have and what ingredients I need to buy to make them.

I try to eat healthy and workout.  I am not Mrs. Brady or June Cleaver about it, but I try to include vegetables in our meals and have fruit around to eat.  I also find that when we go out to eat we just eat more.  To cut down on the cost of eating out and the calories associated with it I plan meals at home.

Here is what I do:

Before I go to the store, I simply write out the days of week, on a pad of paper, that I will need to plan meals for.  Something like Sunday-Friday, or Saturday-Friday, depending on our schedule.
Under each day I write down what meal we are having.  On that same piece of paper I write down what ingredients I need to make those meals.

That’s it.  Simple and easy, but hard to make ourselves do.

When I am running on all cylinders I get out my cookbooks, get on Pinterest, and websites and find recipes to make.  During the week I often try a new recipe or two, and then throw in our regulars.  Things like:

Hogs dogs and fries
Chicken Strip Basket and Fries
Baked Hamburgers
Turkey roast
Pierogies and sautéed onions
Spaghetti; different variations.
And more….

I have a designated notebook I use for meal planning.  I started doing this because I often get so busy I don’t remember what we have week after week.  This gives me a reference to use to know what we had and when.  I may even put a check mark by the meals we liked and an X by the meals that didn’t work out so well.

There are apps that you can download and use for the same purpose, or you could use an organizer or planner.  If you want to keep things simple just grab a notebook and keep your meals in there.

I have been planning our meals for over 26 years.  Planning them ahead of time has helped me to ensure we had the ingredients we needed for dinner each night, and that my family had something good to eat.  It has been my way of showing my family that I love them and something I plan on doing for many years ahead.

Wishing you good cooking, full tummies, and happy lives.


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