Meal Planning

I have been blessed in my life. One BIG blessing came from my step-dad when I was growing up. For the most part, he worked from home. My brother and I would come home from school and have a hot meal on the table almost every night. A meal on a table every night isn’t guaranteed for everyone in this world. I think I learned to really appreciate this blessing when I moved out for school.

The day I moved into my college place, I made the trek to the grocery store and nearly had a panic attack. I had no list and had no clue where to start. So I did what any other 20 year old would do. I called my mom. It sounds silly, but since my step-dad had always done the grocery shopping and cooking, we really never had to go to the store except for the occasional chocolate, trashy magazine or ice cream fix.

For two years, I went to the store once or twice a week with some random plan of my weeks meals. I started making grocery lists and I began building much more confidence in-between those aisles. The one thing I really never did was create an actual weekly meal plan. I would simply get a hodge podge of food and figure it out later.

By the time I moved out (6 months ago), I began looking at the true spending of my grocery list. Since I had two mouths to feed, I needed to tweak what I was doing. The no list, no plan days were officially over. I had no room in my budget to buy random things that would go bad or simply sit in my pantry for months.

My plans aren’t always perfect or consistent. Each Sunday, I make a meal plan for the week and begin putting together the grocery list. I buy what’s on the grocery list (and maybe a few extra items) and rest easy that I have a plan set.

The only kink in the plan is when the days meal comes along and I come home and don’t WANT to make it. On the menu is lemon herb chicken and I want enchiladas. Or I’ll come home and say screw it and eat a bowl of cereal.

Take for instance this plan:

Ignore the “Errands” and my chicken scratch.

Looks pretty good right? Monday nights I have class, so Joe is on his own there. Tuesday night, I came home exhausted and made a box of mac and cheese for Joe and I had my cereal. So last night I made the honey lemon chicken.

I guess what I’m saying is it’s FANTASTIC to have a plan set each week. It’s even better and completely okay to tweak it half way through the week. At least I know I have the ingredients to make at least five meals. I don’t always keep up with a full plan each week, but it’s nice knowing that I can rest a little easy knowing I’ve got some sort of plan.

I think my next plan is to get prettier paper.

Do you have a weekly meal plan? I’d love to know how you guys keep organized.

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4 comments
  1. I love doing this. I grew up helping my mom and dad make the meal plans ever since I was about six, so it has really helped out now that I’m on my own and trying to figure out what to make. I usually buy one bulk sum of meat and then figure out recipes with that type of meat. IE: chicken: chicken Alfredo, fried chicken/baked chicken, chicken salad sandwiches, etc. That way I am just buying one meat and then a bunch of sides, it saves money.

    • I buy chicken in bulk at Costco, usually the skinless chicken breasts that come in pouches of two. I defrost one and have two breasts to cook with. All so I don’t use food we won’t eat.

    • Ha! I agree it can get a little crazy if you don’t keep up with one.

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