Meal Planning, You Can Do It!

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

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004J2NBCO?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592335144?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00

Evol GazzaratoEvol GazzaratoWeekly Meal PlanningEasy Chicken Enchiladas made with precooked rotisserie chicken. Great for the freezer and gluten free when you use corn tortillas! www.leavingtherut.com20 Minute Healthy Chicken Parmesan recipe - easy prep, simple ingredients, SO GOOD. 350 calories. ♡ pinchofyum.comTomato Eggplant Zucchini Bake with Eggplant Garlic and Parmesan. A gorgeous and easy way to use up extra summer veggies! #glutenfree #zucchiniEasy Ranch Baby Carrots - Made with homemade Ranch seasoning and roasted to crisp-tender perfection. And all you need is 5 min prep and one pan. How easy!BBQ Ranch Chicken Casserole from willcookforsmiles.comChicken Fajita QuesadillasChili Pasta Bake RecipeJust four convenient ingredients bake into hearty family-size comfort food!A creamy roasted red pepper sauce - Would ditch the stupid gluten free noodles for real noodles though! Sauce looks yum!Yummy Crunchwrap Supremes7 Slow-Cooker Recipes Perfect for Summer NightsPretzel Dog RecipeThai coconut crockpot chickenCheesy Chicken Enchilada PastaRed Lobster #copycat recipe for crab linguini alfredoPerfect dinner while watching the game! Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps Chicken: https://www.zayconfoods.com/campaign/14One Pan Balsamic Chicken and Veggies - this is seriously easy to make and it tastes AMAZING! Had it ready in 20 minutes!Chicken pairs up with frozen Green Giant™ Sautés chipotle harvest to make a flavorful easy chicken skillet dinner.This homemade Mexican Pizza recipe is better than the famous fast food joint's! Get your daily dose of dairy with melty cheese and a dollop of sour cream! #DairyMonth #adLooking for a healthy and easy meal? Check out this Sausage, Asparagus & Quinoa Meal Recipe. This meal is so simple to make but flavorful and sure to become a family favorite dinner.Frozen veggies are the key to this flavor-packed dinner—made entirely in one dish.Start with Ultimate Chicken Helper® and serve your family this delicious southwestern skillet for an easy and delicious dinner.Create a fuss-free, cheesy chicken dinner in less than 20 minutes. All the enchilada flavor; no rolling required!Thai Curry Sweet Potato & Lentil Soup. - This comforting soup is also so good!Packed with sweet potatoes, lentils and carrots, spiced with curry paste and lime juice, and finished off with creamy coconut milk, this soup comes together quickly! #Recipe #Soup #CurryLoaded baked potato and chicken casserole. Quick and easy, feeds the whole family! #dinnerpinner says... Oven Tacos (love these. My husband's "favorite taco ever". Made them exactly as written, and will do so many times over in the future.)Skinny Thai Chicken Meatballs with Peanut SauceSkinny Thai Chicken Meatballs with Peanut SauceChicken in a Creamy Parmesan and Sundried Tomato SauceAlmond Crusted Chicken Strips-this is one of my favorite alternatives to chicken tenders, the almonds offer a super tasty nutty flavor and I bake mine-perfect meal for kids!This really is the best chicken enchiladas recipe! Plus it's simple to make, and is made with the most amazing enchilada sauce.Spinach and Artichoke Dip Tortellini SoupCookin’ Canuck – Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Quinoa RecipeFab Buffalo Chicken Mac and CheeseSpaghetti Squash Boats - Healthy & Low Carb via www.dailycupofasheejojo.comThese versatile spinach and artichoke recipes have got you covered.NEW One-Pot Cheesy Chicken and Mini DumplingsNEW Easy Chicken and Butternut Squash RisottoThe crowd will go wild for these tasty large-batch bakes. Pack any extra helpings for the easiest-ever day-after lunch!Turn a traditional meatball sub into a quick and easy, one-pan dinner the whole family will love.The Slow Cooker Recipes That You'll Never Want To Live WithoutIngredients You’ll Need Soup: 2 cloves garlic 1 medium yellow onion 3 ribs celery ½ lb (3-4) carrots 1 large (3/4 lb.) chicken breast 1 whole bay leaf 1 tsp dried basil 1 tsp dried thyme freshly cracked pepper 4 cups water 1 tsp salt (plus more to taste) Dumplings: 1½ cups all-purpose flour 1½ …Get this all-star, easy-to-follow Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese recipe from Rachael Ray.BAKED MOZZARELLA CHICKEN ROLLS #holiday #thanksgiving #dinnerpartyFresh Spinach Tomato and Garlic Tortellini Soup - this soup is unbelievably delish! So much fresh and cheesy goodness!Just when you thought mac and cheese couldn't get any better...Tex-Mex Chicken White Cheddar Spaghetti 1Paula Deen's Goulash (the best EVER)Bacon Guacamole Grilled Cheese SandwichChicken and Kale CasseroleSee On//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit_main.js

Follow Evol’s board Clean Eating Recipes on Pinterest.//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js

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