I used to be a non-planner when it came to meals. I would buy staple ingredients every week and freeze whatever meats were on sale that week, buy shelf stable items as I could afford to stock up, and buy way too many vegetables that would end up going bad before I used them.
It was wasteful, but at that point we were eating all conventionally grown items, so we could 'afford' the waste. Now that I've placed a priority on natural and organic items, the price tag is higher. In order to make up the difference, we had to eliminate waste.
And that's where meal planning comes in. Each week, I plan out the next week's dinners. Lunches are easy.... Leftovers go with the husband to work, Ansel and I eat leftovers if we have them or we eat something easy like sandwiches, and Kadin takes a sandwich to school each day. Breakfast is basic staple items.... oatmeal, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc. So those are just a regular part of my shopping.
This has definitely simplified my life. Because I know what I will be making for dinner, I find it easy to start dinner preparations earlier in the day, or overnight if necessary. There is no last minute panic about what to eat. I also don't wait too long to start, then realizing what I had decided on will take more time than I have available. I can also plan the more time consuming meals for the days of the week when I have more time to devote to them. It is really a load off my mind, AND, I find myself almost never wishing we could just order pizza or go out to eat.
I think I'll start posting my weekly meal plans, and then updating the blog most days about how things have turned out. Here's this week's plan:
Wednesday: Rotisserie chicken(the store-made kind, our natural foods grocery has them on sale), baked potatoes, and steamed broccoli.
Thursday: Pasta with bolognese sauce and salad.
Friday: Chicken mole, rice, and corn.
Saturday: Chicken rollers(a sale item at the store), ravioli(another store sale item), and salad.
Sunday: Burritos(this is a big batch make ahead item) and salad.
Monday: Red lentils, palak paneer, and rice.
Tuesday: Thai pasta salad.
I made bread last night, and will be keeping up with that this week. I also plan to make snickerdoodles for the boys and granola snacks for Ansel, as well as protein bars for the husband.
Off to the store we go! Let's hope I stay under budget again!