Something that has been extremely helpful in my quest to eat better has been sitting down weekly and planning out meals. Ben and I put our heads together for a few minutes every Sunday and decide what our dinners for the week will be. We take into account any plans we might have (gym time, dinners out, his broom-ball games) and try to make enough extra that we have leftovers for lunch each day. Then, we put together a grocery shopping list and hit the store.
This also has led to a significant savings in grocery costs. We always used to just go to the store and buy whatever we felt like, or “stock up” on what we considered the basics. We regularly spent $100 or more each trip, and often ended up throwing produce away because we weren’t using it. Now, we usually end up spending under $60/week, and use up everything with very little waste.
In order to make this strategy even simpler, I downloaded this meal planning sheet from MommyTracked.com. It’s great–there’s a section to plan your dinners, and an area to create your grocery list. I printed out a bunch of copies and, using the comb binder at my office (shhh don’t tell!), I put together this lovely little notebook.
Now, we can easily look back at past weeks for inspiration, or to help with variety. And we can bring the notebook with us to the grocery store for our list. It’s all together in one place. We also post the week’s menu on the whiteboard in our kitchen so that it’s right there when we get home from work each night.
How do you handle meal planning?