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Meal Planning 101

January 29, 2010

Haaaaapppy Friday!!!

As I said last week, one of my goals is to be better at meal planning and cut down on the amount of money we spend on groceries. I also realized that we had not been eating the healthiest meals around, and from now on I want to make sure each meal is satisfying, yet low fat and full of veggies and health! I feel that this week I did a pretty good job at keeping the meals light in calories (minus the chicken wings, but who could say no to them?!) and I want to keep that going. Z and I are both working on losing a bit of weight and getting in shape, so this can only help us towards our goal 🙂

So this, my blogging friends, is my Meal Plan Game Plan (aka the 6 S’s) (even though I’m not a football fan, I have Superbowl parties on the brain! Go team! And Go Cuse!…had to say it 🙂 )

1.) Search. On down time throughout the week (i.e. while eating lunch at my desk) peruse blogs and cooking sites (Recipezaar and Cooking Light are great!) and save any recipes I like! I used my Google task list to track the name of the dish and which website it is on.

2.) Save. Z and I have a Stop & Shop near our place, so that is where we do the majority of our shopping (except for random trips to Trader Joe’s when I’m looking for something special…or 2 Buck Chuck!). The next thing I do is go to the supermarket’s website and see what deals are going on this week. A penny saved is a penny earned 🙂

3.) Select. Keeping in mind coupons and deals for that week, I peruse my recipes and find ones that A) include those sale items and B) have similar ingredients to each other. For example, last week chicken was on sale, so we stocked up and I pulled out all of my chicken recipes (if you couldn’t tell there was a theme!) We also had to buy 6 eggs just to use 1 for Pancake Day, so the leftovers were the inspiration for the crustless quiche. This way, I’m not buying tons of random products and wasting others that I only needed a little of!

+

= 6 eggs used!

4.) Schedule. Once I have picked out ~5 recipes (we usually eat out one night a week, and a dish could last for more than one night) I throw them in my Google calendar and decide which order they should go in! This is great if you have social events or may have to work late, so you can save more complex dishes when you have free time, but throw an omelette together if you have a late class at the gym! This also helps if you need to freeze some fish or meat if you won’t be using it until the end of the week.

5.)  Shopping list.  I make a list of all the ingredients I would need for everything, then cross off the multiples and things I already have stocked in the pantry. I also keep a list of staples we have run out of  and our basics for breakfast and lunch. We are probably the most un-interesting people when it comes to breakfast and lunch (banana and nuts or oatmeal for breakfast, Z has a turkey sandwich and I have a salad for lunch. Done!) so it is easy to re-add the same items to the list.

6.) Shop…til you drop!

This is what I did last week and it ended up working out well! I normally have to run to the supermarket on random days during the week, but not this week! You can see from my last shopping post that we spent about $50 for the whole week, which I don’t think is too shabby when you’re cooking meals and not eating Oodles of Noodles or cereal for dinner. I’ve done it again this week and supermarket night is tonight, so my next post should have a recap of how it worked out! Hooray for saving money!!

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