Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why I plan...

My First Blog!

In order to keep up with my life, I always have to have a plan!  This is especially true when it comes to dinner time.  After months and months of buying groceries that go bad and wasting a ton of money, I have learned to meal plan!  I aim for a week at a time and try to make a meal or two that will be used twice.  I definitely need more work incorporating the weekly sales flyer into my meal planning in order to get the most bang for my buck, but baby steps!  I figure buying food I will use at full price is a better deal than buying food on sale that will eventually get thrown away.  Most of the recipes aren't mine and I will always do my best to link back to the original site.  I get a lot of ideas from pinterest so feel free to follow me on there as well.

Tips for Successful Meal Planning

  • I try to plan 5 meals a week.  This gives me one night to eat out/order out/go to my moms and one night of a last chance buffet... this is when I take all the leftovers out of the fridge and let everyone make their own plate and heat it in the microwave.  It is a last chance buffet because it is the food's last chance! After the meal, the leftovers get dumped, the fridge gets wiped out and everyone is ready for the next week to begin.
  • BE FLEXIBLE!  Sometimes plans change.  You might plan for and buy food for 5 meals, but only end up home for 3.  Assemble and freeze what you can!  Especially crockpot meals.  I always try to double the recipe and put half in the crockpot and half in a freezer bag.  Now I have a crockpot meal ready to go on a  busy day.  Take it out and put in on the counter to defrost for a bit while I shower and then pour it in the crockpot.  More on this to come... the point is, plan b is ok.  The idea is to not waste the food you buy!
  • Double up!  I touched on this the bullet before.  Whenever possible I double up on recipes and put half in the fridge.  There are a ton of ways to freeze meals.  Some people like to freeze them in tins or tupperware.  I prefer freezer bags.  Make sure its Ziploc brand, it really makes a difference.  I will do another post about freezing crockpot meals (as it is currently what I am into!)  A big secret to freezing meals is to immediately put it on the plan for another week (I generally go two weeks ahead.)
  • Stick to the plan.  It is so easy to come home after a busy day, look at your meal planning schedule and order a pizza.  Make sure you take into account your schedule for the week when you are meal planning.  A super busy day may call for a crock pot meal so when you come home dinner is ready!  A lazy day home may be a good day for a slowly simmer stew or slow roasted chicken.
  • Write it out.  I have a magnetic pad on my fridge that I got at Michaels for $1.  It is separated into 7 days.  I write what is for dinner on each day (or the plans for the night) and where to find the recipe.  I write my grocery list on the back of the page of the previous week.  This way I can add small things to it as the week goes on.   Grocery day comes, I rip off the old week and go shopping.
These are all the tips I can think of for now, but I will definitely share as I learn!

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