Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Meal Planning

Recently, I've become a huge fan of meal planning.  No more wandering around with no idea what to cook at 5 pm!  I make a list, take out what I will need and make that meal for supper.  I try to plan almost two weeks at a time, because with three kids in tow, I don't want to grocery shop more often than that.  But you know what? For the first little while, it actually cost me more money....huh?

I realize what my problem was.  If I sat down to plan a meal, it was a bit more elaborate that it might have otherwise been.  I didn't plan on deer sausage ( freezer's full of it) mashed potatoes and carrotts with harvard sauce.  That's a meal I would throw together with no plan! Buuuuut, I would plan more meals with ingredients and sides I had to go out and buy.

Another reason it fell flat was that I was only planning on supper.  With three young kids, I actually make atleast 6 meals a day ( Breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, supper and bedtime snack).  So I didn't always have things on hand for lunches, or good healthy snack foods.  At 11:45, I'd be faced with no useful items in the fridge and a husband on his way home for his lunch break.  I also failed to buy different, more lunch kit friendly items.  With a son now in school full days every day, I need different items.  Sometimes I would buy more fruit than we could eat before it spoiled, and sometimes we'd be out three days later.  Do you count how many pieces of fruit you'll need to eat in a week?

One week, I actually sat down and wrote out what we would eat every single meal of the day...but that was alot of work and planning.  Besides, just because it says yogurt in the snack colomn today does not mean that my 18 month old wants that today.  So I can't be that regimented either!

I'm learning on the go now, trying to plan most meals for a two week period.  Trying to buy a few snack items each trip, and a few lunch items for days when we don't have left overs.  I need to make sure we have lunch kit worthy items, like sandwhich meat and fruits.  I try to leave a few dollars left over from that pay period for those items I invariably forget, and the top ups on things we run out of, like milk.  I wing whatever spaces are left with what's in the freezer and cupboard, and I'm trying to simplify our meals more often.

Some resosurces I love are all the Sandi Richard cookbooks, complete with weekely menus and shopping lists.  I also like .  She posts new meal plans everyweek, with shopping lists.  She has them all categorized, and you can choose all kinds of meals, including ones on a budget.  You can follow eat at home on facebook too.

How do you meal plan?

1 comment:

  1. I plan 5 supper meals a week, and I intentionally cook more food than my family will eat. That way lunch is taken care of for my husband with leftovers (usually), and I can often disguise other leftovers as an entirely different meal to fill in a gap for a day I have not planned. I also struggled with overplanning elaborate meals for a while, but found this works for me. I plan 3 lunches a week for myself, my children, and the kids I babysit. Grocery shopping day is "fun lunch" day for my boys. We shop in the morning and grab pizza buns to eat in the car for lunch, topped off my the free cookie they give you in store. :) For the rest of the days I also use my freezer to fill in the blanks. This is all, of course, what happens in a good week. I find I cannot work beyond 1 week. Perhaps because we employ a generous dose of spontaneity in our scheduling. :)


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