I wrote a little about how important it is to cook at home my debt freedom series. We tend to eat healthier, waste fewer things and spend less money when we cook fresh whole foods. I’ve started to refine my meal planning a bit more since we became parents and the need to keep our lives simple has intensified. This little system has helped me to think about meals once and then go on auto pilot for the rest of the week giving me more free time to hang with Elliott.
I noticed that other people’s meal plan methods did not work for me. Planning and cooking something for every meal of the week was just unreasonable, so I created a looser framework that works better with our lifestyle. I made a little weekly meal planning cheat sheet for myself that you can use here.
Basically I plan only 3 dinners per week, then get sandwich meat and salad things for lunch or fill in meals, and we generally stick to the basics of eggs, oatmeal, and cereal for breakfast. I have found that planning only 3 meals has really decreased the amount of food we waste on a weekly basis and decreased the amount of time I have to spend in the kitchen. The other nights of the week we tend to eat leftovers, things from the cupboard, or sandwiches.
I come up with the 3 meals based on these guidelines:
WHAT DO I HAVE ALREADY: I check and see what I have that needs to be used up. More than likely I have some leftover veggies or meats from last weeks meals that need to get eaten up.
WHAT IS IN SEASON: I have been loving summer produce. I can’t get enough watermelon and peaches, and they are going to be gone so soon, so I’ve been taking advantage of all these goodies while they are at their peak. In season produce is also usually cheaper since there is so much of it.
WHAT IS ON SALE: I check the circular of the grocery store I frequent. Stock up on staple items while they are on sale, and I have gotten into the habit of buying family packs of meat at deep discounts and freezing individual servings.
After some pinterest perusing and planning I fill out my little meal plan rubric and head to the grocery store, and keep the paper on the fridge as a reminder for what I had in mind.
I hope this is helpful! It’s really worked well for us. Please let me know if you try it out and if you have any ways you think it could be improved or hacks of your own you would like to share!