Something I’ve been thinking about lately, especially as I was peeling potatoes Monday night after a crazy hectic day, is how meal planning has literally changed my family’s life and I know it could for so many others.
Before we started meal planning we ate like crap. Seriously. We’d cook a few nights a week, I would try to make better dinners on the weekend, but for the most part I would find myself coming home, getting the twins settled, and then staring in the refrigerator wondering what the heck I was going to make for dinner. Which is especially hard when I didn’t pull anything out of the freezer. I would then give up and we would order carry out (costly and not-so-good for you) or pull a sodium and preservative filled meal out of the freezer that is ready in 15 minutes on the stove. Something needed to change.
I do not recall where my inspiration came from but I started a Pinterest board for Weekly Meal Planning and searched on Amazon for a simple marker board to hang on our fridge. It took a couple tries but I was able to find one that fit nicely and actually stayed in place. Now came the planning part. This takes dedication.
Just like any new habit (or old one your are trying to break) it takes some time. What do they say, like a month? Or is it three? I don’t know. Either way, you have to be persistent before it becomes a habit that you do not go without. I always plan the menu for the coming week on Saturday evening or Sunday morning and create the corresponding grocery list. One key is to stay organized. I save any recipes I see online or on Pinterest to a few select Pinterest boards and I also have some great cookbooks I use as well. I go through these recipe “files” and plan the menu according to our schedule, season, and what sounds good! As I write dinner down I use whatever recipe (whether written or in my head) and add the needed ingredients to the shopping list. I’m also sure to leave one or two nights open for leftovers or a splurge on take-out (especially if it’s a night that we wont be home till late). Grocery shopping is done on Sunday or Monday morning (props to my hubby who takes on this chore for our family!).
We now shop with a purpose. We have WAY less waste, eat fresh, and are spending money on what we are actually eating instead of stockpiling the freezer and pantry with items that end up sitting there. The best part? Meal Planning has made clean eating EASY. Seriously.
When I know what I am making every night it is so much easier to plan ahead. Everything I need is in the house and ready to go in the fridge. No, “I forgot to pull that out” or “oh we don’t have 3 things needed to make this”. It’s all there. It’s all fresh. We are also saving money, not just on dinner groceries but also on lunches because leftovers become lunch the next day!
Clean and healthy eating does not need to be complicated, because it isn’t. It’s actually a simple form of eating. KEEP IT SIMPLE! You don’t need to be a gourmet cook, or make a 5 course meal every night, just make good, real, simple food. I challenge you to try it and see what a difference it can make. On a budget? Not a problem! (Aren’t we all really?) Wait until Sunday morning when your coupons on and ads arrive to plan your menu for the week. See what’s for sale and then base recipes you use off of that. I do that too especially for utilizing in season fruits & veggies.
Ok, I need to stop! haha I will certainly do some more blogs on this topic because I am pretty passionate about it and I would love to share some more tips and tricks! For now, below is a link to the marker board we use, a couple of my Pinterest boards, and a cook book that I have recently fallen in love with. Until next time! xoxo