April 4, 2016

Meal Planning: An Epiphany

I've spent hours combing through blogs, websites, Pinterest boards, etc. trying to find an easier way to meal plan and I haven't found anything that works for me.

In the month of January, I was so efficient at meal planning, that I had 4x more money in my bank account at the end of the month than I had ever had before because I wasn't spending money on food. That quickly went the wayside and I desperately need to get back on the wagon.

This weekend, I did what I always do. I sat down with Pinterest, cookbooks, and magazines all open and I started meal planning. I came up with 8 dinner recipes, four of which will give me leftovers, three lunch recipes, and two breakfast recipes with a handful of smoothie and overnight oat recipes and my favorite, go-to recipe for breakfast cookies.

I made my grocery list, decided what I would need to do on Sunday to prep for the week, and went shopping. I had a plan and I felt good about it.

The entire process of coming up with the meal plan took 2 1/2 hours. Add an hour and a half for grocery shopping (at two different stores with a trip to Trader Joe's planned for this evening) and about 4 hours of prep work and I basically lost an entire day to the process.

So why should I do that every weekend? What's the point? Here's what I decided.

This is going to be my meal plan for the entire month.


My grocery list for the entire month is made. My meal plan for the entire month is made. Every weekend, I'll know exactly what prep work needs to be done. No thinking, no planning, it's all done!

I think this will also help me stop throwing away so much food because everything will get used. I waste so much food, it's embarrassing. Half of the time, I'm only cooking for one. I've given up on buying kale because someone my size eating solo most of the time just cannot physically make it through an entire bag of kale. I've tried making kale chips, putting it in smoothies, freezing it, I still can't get through it all. I think this will help.

I used to slave over meal plans and write out 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners, 7 snacks...you get the idea...every single week. It wasn't sustainable. Ain't nobody got time for that!

As for snacks? Well, instead of making fresh hummus or guacamole, or homemade larabars, or whatever, I'm going to keep things simple. Fruit, cheese, and almond butter. Almond butter and cheese will give me added protein, and fruit is delicious and an easy choice.

If I do start getting sick of something, I can use the same ingredient base to make something else and, when May rolls around, I'll create a new plan.

I'm oddly excited for this and really hope that it helps me be better with meal planning. We all know that it makes life easier  and saves money, but the commitment is too much. I'm hoping that by putting in all of the work early on, it will pay off!

What are your secrets to meal planning success?
Does this sound like something that might work? 
I'll keep you all posted on how things go, and I'll share my meal plan next week when I have pictures!

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