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Meal Planning

Meal Planning

I’ve found that one way to reduce weekday stress and waste fewer groceries is to meal plan.

I think alot of us – know we should, don’t like to, or feel like they don’t know where to start.

But once you are in the habit of meal planning, you can significantly reduce the money spent at the grocery store and the stress each day of deciding what to make for dinner.

I’ll share my routine with you:

  1. Pick another family to help each week.
  2. Look at the family schedule to determine what nights you have activities and which you don’t.  This will help determine what kind of meal you need to make – crock pot, grill, skillet dish, grab ‘n go sandwiches, etc.
  3. Pick a variety of proteins your family likes to eat
  4. Pick a starch and veggie (or two) that pairs well with each protein
  5. Write down what you’re making each night
  6. Build a grocery list from the meal plan

For example:

  1. Older son offered to help.
  2. Two nights he needed to work (Joe’s Butcher Shop in Carmel, IN) until 8.
  3. Chicken thighs, pork tenderloin, ground beef, fish (for Friday during lent), homemade pizza, ribs
  4. Chicken thighs – mac n cheese, green beans
  5. Pork tenderloin – instant potatoes, brocolli
  6. Ground beef – hamburgers, chips and peas; tacos with corn salsa
  7. Fish – tilapia, rice, brussel sprouts
  8. Homemade pizza – sausage, pepperoni, veggies
  9. Ribs – fried potatoes, cauliflower
  10. Transfer the meal plan to a visible spot for the whole family to see
  11. Build your grocery list
 
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Posted by on March 29, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Step 3 – Plan your protein

Your grocery list always need to start with proteins.  

You have to get into your head what counts as a protein; here in the good ol’ Midwest we tend to lean towards beef.  And, yes, of course, it is a protein.

But, expand your thinking: include dairy, eggs, nuts, chicken, pork products, and fish.

All of these are ways to get protein.  If you are planning to cook on four nights, you need four proteins for the week.  So, look in your freezer and see what you have on hand.

If you pick something like a roast or whole chicken, depending on family size, you could get two nights of meals out of that single protein source.

Here’s my typical plan: 

one night beef

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one night chicken

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one night fish

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one night left-overs from one of the above

To review:

write down your schedule for the week, divide your days, and now pick your proteins.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Step 2 – divide your days

The next part of the planning it to get into a routine. 

Our routine is that we go out once a week and we try to limit drive-thru stops to twice a week.  That leaves four days of cooking.

Two of those days still have to be quick meals or something people can eat at different times and two of those days are sit-down family dinners.

Start to plan a grocery list (in your head, just when you’re driving and thinking about it).  Don’t worry about writing anything down yet.

You are really only going to need 8 meals that your family eats well – 2 a week for a month and then you start over.

The next post will teach you how to take all of this thought and really make that grocery list and start making a change in your habits.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Fresh Start

It’s the night before trash day.  That means it’s time to go through the fridge.

I love this task.  It’s my own version of food rescue.  Not because I typically find unidentifiable objects – but more because I find leftovers that got pushed to the back and will narrowly miss the garbage can.

There is usually the squishy peach or the nearly moldy strawberries.  Both of these items can be salvaged.  Cut off the bad (if moldy) and keep all the squishy. Throw in a container into the freezer and I’m going to save on next week’s smoothie ingredients.

Saving almost gone fruits

Fruit Smoothie

There is typically a leftover protein – anything from a random pork chop (less than 5 days old – health rule!) or even boiled eggs – that I can turn into tomorrow’s lunch.

And my favorite part is quite possibly throwing out last week’s mistakes.  Those leftover cheese tortellini that no one liked – trash.  The end of the loaves of bread – now moldy – feed the ducks out back.  The two leftover pancakes that no one ever ate – garbage.

It’s a fresh start.  It’s making right the past week’s wrongs.  It’s the impetous to start a grocery list for the following week.  A chance to reward the kid who complained the least this week about meals – ‘hey, what would you like next week for dinner one night’.

Here’s what I’ve learned: Every week brings a fresh start.

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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