Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Meal Planning - Our Month at a Glance

Welcome to a glimpse into our Monthly Meal Plan! 

I understand how hectic life can be, especially when you add a child or more into the mix. Hours pass quickly, weekends are too short, and there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done.  

I started Meal Planning several years ago {long before we had Squish}, to help stream line our lives. We were moving towards a more whole foods derived diet, and meal planning was my way to reign in the extremely high cost of groceries. In America today, it is much cheaper {and easier} to purchase boxed meals, and whole foods can be quite pricey. You can feed your family home cooked {HEALTHY} meals, and stay on a tight grocery budget...without losing your sanity. 


So...I'm about to stand up on my really tall soap box for a few minutes here...STOP EATING JUNK! Your health {and the health of your family} depends on it. No more excuses, get out of here with those! Healthy meals take time, and effort...but they are worth it. Your family will be healthier, because the nutritious whole foods you are feeding them will boost their immune system {making them less susceptible to the yucky germs spreading around}, their bodies will be functioning at a more optimal level, and they will just generally FEEL better. Think of nutritious WHOLE foods as medicine. The better the food, the less you will need to rely on expensive healthcare, that is manufactured in a lab. 

NO MORE EXCUSES! I have worked full time outside of the home, while taking care of an infant {while Jeff was unable to help because of a bad dirt bike accident...we have the life flight bill to prove it thanks!}, doing all of the housework/grocery shopping/cooking meals, and running my own business on the side. So, I get it...I REALLY do. Life is hectic, messy, and unpredictable.  Eating healthy homemade meals is really a lot easier than you think...if you just plan it out. 

Stepping off my soap box now...


Okay, so Meal Planning is how I accomplish a home cooked meal {almost} every night. I also have an Overview for the Meal Planning, and more posts will be added for each step of the Meal Planning Process. 

You can see the example of one of our monthly meal plans below. I even factor in leftovers. You can find great blank calendars here.

I will be going back to our other blank month pages. While these are pretty...the spaces are TINY! No room for my gigantic handwriting! 

I have a whole binder devoted to Meal Planning. 

I have the monthly Menu, favorite printed out recipes, and lists of recipes to try. 

Once I have the month planned out, I can then figure out what ingredients I will need. I can then check that against our current Inventory sheets. 

I am an organizational freak! :)  

I typically shop for two weeks at a time. To do this, you need to take into consideration how quickly perishable items will spoil...and plan accordingly. The day before I go grocery shopping, I make sure that I have my list written out, and have checked my different stores websites for sale ads, and perks or coupons that can be added to my store loyalty cards. I don't use coupons, unless I have come across one that would work for something that we actually use. I do not go out of my way to collect coupons, and find that in general, I would probably end up paying the same ore more for an item trying to use a coupon. {I obviously haven't figured out the fantastic world of coupons}  

There is NOTHING wrong with going grocery shopping once a week. I just prefer {especially during the winter} to not venture out too much into stores. This increases the risk of exposing Squish to outside yucks, and until recently B-Reals immune system has been a mess. He would always be sick, then Squish would get it...and then I am stuck taking care of two sick babies. Typically I take Squishy to my in-laws {excellent reason to have a fun day with Grandma and Paw Paw}, and I power shop on my own. This gives me a chance to freely move about, take my time to read the labels on any thing that requires it, and not have to take a squirmy toddler into a store where she will be bored. Trying to keep her entertained, and effectively shop do not mix. I end up forgetting things on my list, and have to make unnecessary {and sometimes pricey} trips back to the store. 

I also shop at several different stores, to make sure I am getting everything on my list, as well as getting the best price for things. I will break everything down on my shopping trips on the next post. :)  

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