Meal Planning

Grocery day was today. I *like* to grocery shop, but it is always stressful. Will I have enough money? Will I find everything I need, before one of the kids has a meltdown? If you shop, you know the routine.

We go every two weeks if possible. For one reason or another, it has been three weeks, and the cupboard was bare. Not destitute bare of course, but I was substituting most every item for something I created. This is fun when you plan for it, tedious when you don’t want to.

What I did for the next two weeks is make a meal plan. Nothing fancy, just made a list of 14 dinners, lunches and breakfasts that I had to shop for. That way I could buy what I needed, instead of making meals with what is in the cupboard.

It is sort of tedious setting up the system, especially since I have it written up already and can not find that special box of stuff from when we moved from my beloved Montana to here. Once you set up the list of foods(28 to 30 meals you like to eat should be more than enough choices), then you have to pick out the week’s meals to shop for. I do it twice a month, so I pick 14.

Lunches are usually leftovers(stored in ziplock storage containers to remove the leftover stigma, plus 3 minutes in the microwave and poof, you have hot lunch), or heaven forbid, sandwiches. I am of the *no more than 2 slices of whole grain bread a day* camp, and get sick of sandwiches all the time. Ugh. I also like to make a pot of soup and divide it up for lunch time instead of eating for dinner. Everyone knows that soup tastes better once cooled and reheated anyways.

Breakfast is the tricky one. The kids are super hungry and we have to get out the door for chores, so we can start our school day as close to 9 as possible. Usually it is a bagel or toast, muffin and yogurt, with fruit in the car on the way to the farm. I like frozen pancakes and waffles for a nice, healthy breakfast. It takes no more time than usual to double a batch of pancakes and then just keep on cooking them, while we eat a pancake dinner. Keep them in a gallon size ziplock bag to stay fresh, just pop in toaster to warm them.

Like everyone else, I like convenience foods. The only difference, is that I like to make them myself. This week for example, I planned on the following to make and store to use as needed:

Spaghetti sauce
Granola
Muffins, waffles and pancakes
Hot cocoa mix
Chicken soup
Hot pockets
Cookies

Once I have these things in place, I can stretch out meals and snacks, without paying outrageous prices for unhealthy food.

If you are interested, I would be happy to list my meals, so you can get an idea of how to shop less often and certainly for less money. Just let me know!

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