Meal Planning and Organization

meal planning organization

I have read all about people who plan their meals a month in advance.  When I started out working in the real world, there was a teacher that went shopping once a month and had a monthly calendar printed out that she listed all three meals a day, I was in awe – she was amazing, she had healthy fresh lunches every day and saved a ton of money.  This is something that as I got older, and now have a family of 3.5 (I give the smallest petite a .5 because she’s only 8 months old, so she doesn’t eat a whole lot) I think about a lot.  On Pinterest there are many websites that have been pinned about how these amazing moms create healthy meal plans for their family.

-Why-

What I have noted is that when I plan a weeks’ worth of dinners, I save a ton of money over a months’ time, what I mean by a ton is about $400, I could use an extra $400 each month.  I know this sounds crazy right, but seriously, look at what you spend in any given week and then create and stick to a meal plan, it will be a lot less I am sure.  I think that this works because you aren’t stopping off at the store on the way home, when you’re hungry and tired and just want something quick, which odds are isn’t terribly healthy or affordable.  Because you have a plan you don’t have to come home and do the look in the fridge for inspiration and see none then call for takeout.  Another bonus is if you plan out two weeks in advance you can buy in bulk and save a little here and there.  I will say that I always had to stop weekly for produce, no matter how well I planned, we’d either eat it or it wouldn’t last longer than a week.

-Pitfalls-

Where I seem to usually struggle, is that I will get a plan and then on the day I am supposed to eat, grilled chicken salad, I want a giant cheese burger.  Or even better, when I was working if I had had a long day and didn’t want to cook and wanted some amazing Thai take out.  The worst was when I would stop off for something premade, like at Whole Foods, $50 later and I have half a green salad and a cookie.  These are the areas that are always my personal pitfalls.

-How to Make it Work-

I am trying to figure out a menu situation that will be practical and pretty all at the same time.  I need something that will help me to keep up with this, I don’t want meal planning to be a tedious endeavor or I won’t stick with it.  I know if I plan well that we can save money and eat healthier.  Sounds like a late New Year’s resolution to me.   Ugh, another pitfall, in the weekly meal planning process, I tend to forget the meals I make, and then I get stuck with some variation of grilled chicken, tacos, soup, salad, grilled steak, pork chops – repeat, repeat, repeat over and over again until I never want to eat it ever again.  This was my thinking in choosing the boards that have the meal cards, that you can rotate through.

-Let’s Make this Happen-

The best way, in my opinion, is to have some sort of organizational system. Here are some of my favorite menu planning ideas for small spaces:

option 2 option 3 option 1 option 5 option 2 Option 1

 

I love all of these creative ideas, now if I could just choose one and stick to it.

-Erin

 

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