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One of you mentioned in my reader survey that you would love to see meal plans and recipes, so this month I will be starting my Meal Plan Mondays series again (I did this a couple years ago) in which I will share my meals for the weeks as well as any tips on how I plan my meals. Depending upon how that goes I might turn it into a regular segment or perhaps do it on a monthly basis.
Up until recently, there was no real method to my grocery shopping. Sure I’d go to the store with the list, but it was never made based on any kind of meal plan. It was more of, “Well I should really eat more fruits and veggies, so I should buy fruits and veggies” or “I think I’ll make something with chicken breast so I’ll buy some chicken breasts” and what would happen is stuff would either hang out in the freezer or get thrown out for going bad.
Then I tried Blue Apron for a couple months where every week I would get fresh ingredients for three meals delivered to me on a weekly basis. This began to change my way of thinking; I went from a “Oh I should have that in the house” way of thinking to “This is just for the week” mentality. Since then, it has made shopping a lot less overwhelming.
I’ve since stopped using Blue Apron (their plans aren’t really convenient if you’re gluten sensitive), but I’m now planning my meals on a weekly basis.
How I Plan My Meals
Step 1 – Set Aside Some Time
Saturday is my meal planning day. Really all you need is a good solid 15 minutes to do the actual planning part; I typically sit down and plan while I’ve got a load of laundry going. I’ll start by printing out a few copies of a meal planning sheet; this one is my favorite, but I’ve got a couple that I like on my Meal Planning board.
Step 2 – Fill in the Easy Stuff First
I’ll make note of anything we have going on that week and fill in pizza on Sunday (Sundays are our pizza night), so that way all I am left with are the days I actually have to think about.
Step 3 – Choose Your Meals
I’ll go through either one of my cookbooks or my Dinner board and jot down meals for each day. As I choose my meals, I look at the recipe to see if I need to buy anything for it and jot it down on the side. You’ll notice that the meal plan printables on my board all have areas to make a shopping list, which comes in handy.
Step 4 – Put Together Your List(s)
Once I’ve finished selecting my meals and have jotted down what I need, I then add those items I need to my master shopping lists. I have three lists: one for Whole Foods, one for Sam’s Club, and one for Target/Safeway (I’ll share those next week).
Step 5 – Shop and Prep
I’ll do my shopping, bring everything home, and prep as needed. I don’t focus on prep too much mainly because by the time I’ve finished all my shopping I’m a bit tired, plus I tend to choose easy recipes that have very minimal prep time. The only time I really prep ahead is on a slow-cooker meal.
This Week’s Meals
Friday: The Melting Pot for our anniversary!
Saturday: Either on our own or out somewhere because I’ll be at WordCamp all day and not sure what the dinner plans will be.
Sunday: Pizza from Papa Murphy’s. I get a medium gluten-free pizza, and the leftovers give me lunch for two days.
Do any of you meal plan? If so, how do you do it? Share in the comments!