I’m going to let you all in on my big secret. The one thing that has changed how our weeks look. We no longer spend as much money. We no longer waste food. And we now eat much healthier.
Every Tuesday, I sit down with a couple cook books, my computer, and plan out our meals for the coming Wednesday to Tuesday. Then I make a very detailed grocery list of the ingredients we need to complete all those meals. I will usually do a crockpot meal on Tuesday and Thursday (because I am gone all day watching my niece), and leave Sunday open because we are usually either at Goodman’s parent’s house, or we will eat leftovers from the week. It seems a lot the first couple times you do it, but I promise that it gets easier! I have seen so many benefits already in just one short month.
- Saves time – Even though it does take time initially, it ultimately saves so much time. Now when I go into the grocery store, I know exactly what I need to get as opposed to wandering aimlessly for an hour. It also saves me a tremendous amount of time throughout the week. I never have to wonder what we are going to have for dinner, and try and pull something together at the last minute. Meal prep is so much easier and much more enjoyable when I know what I am going to make, and exactly how long it will take to make it.
- Saves money – There have been so many times that I have gone to the grocery store, spent a ton of money, but once I get home I don’t have any meals. I have bits and pieces of things, but not cohesive ingredients. When that is the case, I usually end up going back throughout the week to get items to finish off my meals. Now, I strategically buy things for the meals I have planned for the week. Nothing more, nothing less. Obviously I buy staples (bread, milk, eggs, fruit), but not an extra box of pasta here, and an extra slab of ribs there. Not only do I spend less at the grocery store, but we eat out way less than before. Before, when we had no plan for dinner, one of us would either go pick something up, or we would go out and grab a bite to eat. Now, when we have a specific meal planned, it is incredibly hard to justify eating out when we don’t need to.
- Saves calories – I’m gonna be honest, we don’t count calories in our home. So to say that we save calories by doing this isn’t necessarily true, but I can assure you that we eat way healthier now that I have been meal planning. I can now plan ahead and be very conscious to make healthy “real” meals for my family. Instead of ordering broccoli and chicken from Happy China down the road, I made my own version last night, and it was delicious and nutritious. I view eating healthy as a way of life, and as preventative care. The better we eat now, the less health problems (hopefully) we will have in the future.
I’m not one that believes we will die if we don’t eat all organic, but especially since having Faye, I have been much more aware of what we put into our bodies. I try to buy organic when I can, but I now buy organic fruits, veggies, and meat all the time. I know that it is more expensive, but like I said before, I see it as preventative care. Also, because I plan and am aware of what I am spending at the store, I am able to justify spending the few dollars more on the organic products, and my budget doesn’t take a hit.
I say all this to encourage you all to try meal planning, if only for a week. I’ve seen a huge benefit in my family and hope you all will see the same. Below is a sample of a weeks plan, and a couple links to my favorite websites.
Wednesday: Thai chicken soup
Thursday: Taco soup*
Friday: Quinoa burgers with a spinach salad
Saturday: Spinach, bacon & feta cheese quiche (whole wheat crust)
Monday: Potato soup with whole wheat biscuits
Tuesday: Buffalo chicken lettuce wraps with edamame*
- This not only has delicious and easy recipes, but it has a ton of great information on how to eat, shop, and live healthy!
- This blog has healthy recipes for all your favorite foods. She also shares her story, and great exercises. There are some recipes that you have to be a member to access (which is absolutely worth it), but some are free to the public!
Let me know how it goes, or share some of your favorite recipes!