meal planningPeople ask me all the time, do I really cook all the time?  Yes I do.  How do you come up with different things to make?  I get inspiration everywhere.  Magazines, cooking shows, something that I ate in a restaurant, other food blogs.  Do you shop every day or once a week or once a month?  I do a big once a month shop for cleaning supplies, toilet paper, that sort of thing and grocery shop once a week.  Every Saturday I sit down with my meal planning sheet and plan out what we are doing and what we are going to have for dinner.  I create my shopping list based off of the weekly meal plan. I shop on Sunday morning.  I grab a Starbucks and go.  The stores are quiet and I can get in and out of there in a reasonable amount of time.  I know that lots of people can do this for the month or two weeks, but a week is what works for me.  I look through my recipe binder or the millions of magazine clippings that I have and decide what I am going to make for the week.  Remember how I told you that I spend a crazy amount of money on food? Well, that is true.  But it is a lot less now that I plan out what we are going to eat each week.  I buy exactly what I need and since I make an effort to buy organic, free range, etc. I make sure that we eat it.  I created this sheet to help me out.  Try it out and see if it works for you.  Some of the surprising benefits of doing this is:

  • We have stopped eating out.  Not only have we saved money, but it is so much healthier.  My children have gotten involved in the process of deciding what we eat and they help me make it sometimes.
  • I save time.  When I know that on Monday I am going roast chicken breasts for dinner, I roast a few extra and use it for dinner on Wednesday.  When I had no plan, I couldn’t plan ahead.
  • We eat together as a family every night.  Well, almost every night, life does happen, but for the most part, we sit together at the table every night and eat a meal together.

Here are some other great resources for meal planning.

Meal Planning Mommies – Great tips on how to get started and meal ideas.

Krista’s Kitchen – Krista will deliver a shopping list into your inbox at the beginning of the week.

The Project Girl –  The Project Girl has a great website worth checking out, she has some really cute meal planner downloads.

Cheap Healthy Good – Tons of resources for meal planning, budgeting, all kinds of goodies.

Is there a resource that you use that you love?  How do you meal plan?  Tell us about it in the comments section.

Want to download my meal planner? Click here or the image below.

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