Monday, January 4, 2010

Meal Planning


With all of the New Years Resolution posts flying around the blog world, one thing I've seen on many people's lists is resolutions related to meal planning. This is one area that I feel that we excel in, so I thought I'd share our method. It may help you a little, it may help a lot, or maybe you'll think it's a horrible system, and I'm okay with that!

We plan our meals in sets of five, and we both try to make something "new" each week. We never plan more, and occasionally, on weeks when we are leaving to go out of town, we'll plan less. We do five meals instead of seven, because that allows for a night of leftovers and a night to go out for dinner. Do we always go out? No! But it's there incase we want to use it. We buy a lot of fresh food and I don't like to overbuy as I know it will go bad. We've just found that five meals is a good number for us.

Typically, we plan on Sundays, and I'll go shopping Monday after work. Prior to shopping, I pick my meals, and J picks his. In the summer I take three meals and he does two, and during the school year we switch off who makes the extra meal. We keep "the list" (see above) on the fridge and add things like milk and eggs to it through out the week. On Sundays when we sit down and pick out our meals we'll add the items for our meals to the list. Pretty simple. Having a list is the BEST way to grocery shop, in my opinion. It helps me stay focused in the store, and we save money by not buying extra "stuff".

Now, I know some people like to plan their meals for a certain day of the week (e.g.Monday - Tacos, Tuesday - spaghetti...) but that doesn't work for us. We have our five meals and we make them based on what we feel like having. We usually discuss it the night before, which is crucial if we need to move meat from our freezer to the fridge to thaw out. This system allows for lots of flexibility.

We've been using this system since we got married and moved in together (July 2008) and it's been working wonderfully for us. It helps that I have a husband who likes to cook as much as I do. That makes it much easier.

When it comes to saving money and coupon clipping with my shopping, I don't do it. We enjoy eating well, and stocking up on foods because they're on sale or have coupons is not for us. I know a lot of people love to shop this way (and yes, I know they save tons of money), but it's a pain and not worth my time to find coupons. We make our meal plan based on what we want to eat that week, not what's on sale. Coupon clipping works for some, but it's not for me.

So there you have it. The method behind my grocery shopping madness! I also have these two links to share. My mom knows we love to meal plan and found these (which include printouts) and sent them to me.


And one more great post with a PDF print out:


If you don't like our style, you might find these documents to be useful. I've actually thought about printing and using the Handy Dandy Meal Planner.

Hope this is helpful to someone! If you have any great meal planning tips, please share below. I'd love to hear what works in your home!

17 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your method! This is something we lack in and need to work on.

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  2. We've been off the meal planning wagon for a little while because hubs was working crazy hours for a while (and I don't have my car out here in TX) and now he is in between jobs so we have really cut back on cooking meals and are doing more ramen and stuff, but when we were meal planning regularly, it was a very similar set up. We usually did 3-4 meals per week or two and we would just eat the meals based on how we were feeling the day or two before hand. I don't like being stuck to a strict schedule of I have to eat this meal on this night, because sometimes I just don't feel like it... I feel more like a bowl of cereal or something.

    We also usually kept a running list of needed items during the week or two between grocery trips and then would plan our meals out and write down the ingredients we needed the night before we went shopping. I can't wait to get back in a routine like that. It is so incredibly helpful both while shopping and during the week when you are trying to figure out what to do for dinner! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Very good idea- I like the sharing of the cooking and rotating on the off week. Just out of curiosity, I know you like to cook, so what are some of your favorite meals to prepare during the week? Would love to hear...

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  4. love this idea! i used to plan my meals out bf i started grad school and this year im determined to get back into it! i actually cooked dinner tonight for the first time in forever and my hubby was so excited!

    by the way, i'm new to your blog and i love it! we also got married july 2008!

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  5. This is very similar to what we do, which makes me happy cause you are always so organized!!! I love that Becky Higgins meal planner!

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  6. This is s lot like what we do, too! Works like a charm!

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  7. I'm getting back into planning meals. It such an easy way to save money! Plus it helps us eat a lot healthier!

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  8. I think you guys are utilizing a very thoughtful & practical plan! It makes sense to plan 5 meals a week and allow for a weekly grocery store trip. That's how we do it...well, we TRY, at least! ;) With me being at home it's been easier on us, but whenever I return to the working world we are going to stick with a plan very similar to this.

    I clip coupons...I don't always use them. Sometimes I shop depending on what's on sale, but most of the time, like you, we're shopping for whatever we need for a particular dish.

    We, too, keep a running grocery list on our fridge. That helps out A LOT!!

    Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Great post! It sounds like you guys are really organized :)

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  10. ooh thats a good one! it will make such a difference ; )

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  11. I love this method! I always flinch at those who plan their meals by day of the week. If it works for them, awesome, but I know if I wasn't in the mood for what I had scheduled to cook, I would not be happy!

    I am trying to get better at meal planning, and cooking in general. :) I also always try to make sure to cook enough for leftovers.

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  12. I'm loving this idea! Thanks for sharing. :)

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  13. yes the pineapple dole whip in the picture on my blog is from Disneyland!

    Thanks for showing all of us your meal planning! This is definitely something that Andy and I need to work on.

    (I'm with you on clipping coupons and buying foods just because they are on sale. I've stopped doing it!)

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  14. This sounds like a great idea. Thanks for the tip. Your blog is adorable I'm a pretty new follower.

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  15. We meal plan too. We typically decide the nights for the food in advance, only because whoever gets home first is the one that starts and it's easier to not have to call the other and ask "what do you want tonight?" Or I'll plan sloppy joes for a big game night, etc. And I'm with you - we typically plan for 5 meals. One night for leftovers, another for going out.

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  16. We plan our meals too! :) Love your blog! Great ideas on here! Erin


    www.healthybranscoms.com

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  17. Hi, I'm visiting from a Hop! Have a great Easter! Would love for you to visit my blog and follow back!

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