I’ve never been very good at meal planning. Actually, I’ve never been good at meal making either.
Since we’re trying to eat healthier, with the boys all getting older, and with my husband working a lot more hours, I decided it was time to start learning to be better in the kitchen. My first task was to start meal planning.
How I started
I read a lot about meal planning before getting started. One blog series I found particularly helpful was by Angie over at Chasing My Halo. She gave tons of tips on how to prep and plan meals. One tip I found really helpful was to plan on a different day than you shop. I thought this was really smart, so that’s how I started.
I got out my planner, and wrote down each meal for the week. How did I come up with these meals?
- I looked through our cupboards, refrigerator and freezer to see what we had first.
- I went through Pinterest, looking for simple recipes for foods I know my family likes
- I also added my “go-to” meals that I can actually make
- I made my list of everything that I would need to complete the recipes
I went shopping with my list. I confess that I did go to more than one store, only because the produce at one store wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Good thing I don’t mind shopping.
I revised my plan a little, after looking at our main calendar. There were a few nights my husband had to work late, and also Mr. B’s conference one night, so I switched up the meals a little. For example, I decided “make your own” pizza night was a good activity for when I had the boys all by myself, while leftovers were better when Grandpa was coming to babysit.
Make the meals.
I actually got out my crock pot for the first time in…well, in a long time. Here’s what we ended up eating for the week:
Monday: Tacos with ground chicken and Spanish Rice
Tuesday: Stew (crock pot!) with carrots, onions, potatoes, served with bread and butter
Wednesday: Leftovers with Grandpa
Thursday: Make your own pizzas (see this post for how I made my own version)
Friday: Leftover pizza
Saturday: Enchiladas with chicken (made in crock pot) and refried beans
Sunday: Grilled cheese or Leftover enchiladas
How I can Improve
- Food Prep. I honestly didn’t do any other kind of food preparation besides the shopping. This is something that I need to work on next time. For example, I can wash all the produce when I first get it home to save time.
- Make 2 (or more) at a time. If I cook a few things in bigger batches, then I can have meals straight from the freezer. For example, I’m going to try to make lasagna and have enough to eat one and freeze one.
- Eventually, maybe I’ll plan more than one week at a time. We’ll have to see.
Overall, I think I did OK at meal planning. It took a lot of work and a lot of time, only because it was my first time. I think with each additional plan, I’ll get more efficient, and it will end up saving both time and money. Plus, we will all be eating healthier!
Do you plan out your meals? What tips do you have for me?