Healthy Meal Planning

Okay, it’s the weekend, the ideal time to knock out your healthy meal planning and grocery shopping.

healthymealplanning

I’ve shared with you some shopping moments before, but today I want to break down my meal planning process.  It’s definitely NOT something I though about before I got married and it took a few years to get the process down.  It’s saved us lots of “so what do you want for dinner” discussions and dollars in our budget.

Step 1.Pull out all my gear.
Meal Planning
For me this is the computer so I can look up recipes, Nate’s work schedule, and my little magnetic pad where I can record the plan for all to see!  I also keep my phone handy cause I use the notes section to put my shopping list together.
Step 2. See what’s there.
whatfordinner
Now I check the fridge, pantry, and freezer to see what we have left and what can be used up. Gosh, that fish is STILL in there.  Note to self, you don’t like fish. If I see a staple we’re out off I add it to the list now while I’m checking the fridge, pantry, and freezer.
Step 3.  Check for days you won’t be eating at home
It’s easiest for me to eliminate the days we already know we won’t be at home.  I look at Nate’s work schedule, stuff we’ve already committed to, and times we might be out of the house.  Eliminate those meals from your planning list!
Step 4. Start plugging in your favorite meals
HomemadePizza
We have 10-12 meals that are cheap, easy, and fairly healthy that Nate and I both like.  I use this as my ground zero for meal planning.  In our rotation are standbys like spaghetti, burgers, homemade pizza, sloppy joes, beef stroganoff, chili, potato soup, tacos, and breakfast for dinner.
Step 5. Get distracted inventing the best hot chocolate ever!
ProteinHotChoc
Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate plus 1/2 scoop of protein powder=Protein Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate with 14 grams of protein! Think of infomercial ideas while stirring it on the stove—you’re gonna be a millionaire!! haha! (This step may be just for me.)
Step 6. Get back on track with hot chocolate in hand
backtowork
Now is when I like to fill in any “no good idea” spots with new meals from favorite blogs and Pinterest! Two blogs I like a lot for cooking are Green Lite Bites and The Pioneer Woman. Both have really great recipes!  Actually I’m going to fill in my “no good idea” with a simple taco bake that uses crescent rolls.  We had a few gifted to us from camp and I think that Nate will really like that for one of his lunches either Friday or Saturday.
Step 7.  Develop your grocery list
GroceryList
Go back through your selected meals and add your ingredients to your grocery list.  Make sure you are stocked on all your staples.  Double check t.p. and deodorant. (You NEVER want to run out of those things—take it from the voice of experience over here! Winking smile)
Step 8. Shop!
Beef
Grab your grocery bags (and your quarter if you shop at Aldi’s!) and hit the stores. I shop at Aldi’s and Meijers.
Step 9 Prep (for overachievers)
I seriously rarely do this, but if you feel like superwoman go ahead and prep what you can early.  Maybe cut up that celery so you actually eat it before it resembles an Amish woman’s hair.  Grill up some chicken breast for your salads or lunches.  But really this is bonus work.  If you do it, you’re awesome; but if you don’t you’re still pretty amazing too!

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13 Comments

  1. I love that "get distracted by hot chocolate" is part of the meal planning process:) So great! I've definitely gotten better with meal planning in the last year and a half. I try to come up with a few meals that are for sure each week, and make sure I have all those ingredients on hand. I also have a set list of ingredients that I always keep in my kitchen so that I can make a variety of my favorite meals!

  2. Yeah, to keep my budgeting on track I literally use a calcualtor and add as I go. Anything under budget I consider a "finders fee" and use for something special (nail polish, magazine) for myself–it's a great incentive to come in under budget! 😀

  3. great tips for meal planning. seriously is it sad that finding recipes to make for the week is one of my favorite parts of the day including sunday when i am clipping coupons! (:

  4. I love this! I need to do this more often! Especially if it helps with budget and time!! We really only for sure eat out Wed and sometimes the weekends, the rest I should be able to make at home! I am going to do this Monday!

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