Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping

I think that meal planning is crucial to eating healthy.  If I don’t plan out my meals and shop accordingly, I always feel like I have no food in my house and end up eating out. However, I often have cravings or don’t feel like eating a particular food on any given day.  I like to make sure that I eat food that tastes good and rarely force myself to eat something I don’t feel like. The exception being vegetables.  Most of the time my veggies taste great but every once in a while they just don’t sound all that appetizing, but I eat them anyway. They are good for me and fill me up for very little calories. How did I end up talking about eating veggies? Oh yeah, because I like to make sure I have options throughout the week, SO…back to how I plan my meals.

I don’t plan specific meals for each day but instead I just write out 5 dinner ideas.  This way I can decide what sounds good each day and I know I will have the ingredients on hand. I only plan 5 dinners instead of 7 because we usually eat out once a week and have leftovers once a week. I find if I plan more than that, we end up wasting food. I don’t plan specific breakfasts or lunches.  I make sure I have staples for these meals like oats, cereal, milk, eggs, bread, flour, nut butter, lunch meat, beans, and so on. Breakfast is usually on the go and I either make eggs and toast or some variation of oatmeal. Lunch is either leftovers from dinner the night before, or a sandwich, or burrito. We always have tons of cut up fruit and fresh veggies and eat these with our meals and as snacks. I keep a white board in my kitchen with a list of the dinners for the week and I use it to make a list of items as we run out of them.

At the beginning of the week, usually on Sunday, I sit down and plan out all my dinners for the week. Then I make my grocery list. I make my list on the computer and have 5 columns: produce, dry/canned, dairy, meat, and frozen.  This takes a little more forethought while writing out my list but decreases my time in the grocery store. I’m usually shopping with 2 kids so speed is crucial. We need to get in and out before the kids melt down and without buying all the cookies and fruit snacks in the store. Why must they put all those things within kids’ reach? I swear they are just trying to make grocery shopping harder for moms!

This is what my list generally looks like:

Produce

Dry/Canned

Dairy

Meat

Frozen

Baby Spring Mix

Beans

Parmesan cheese

3 lbs. chicken breast

Stir Fry Veggies

Romaine

Wheat Germ

Low Fat Cheddar

Ground Turkey

Ezekiel Bread

Bell peppers

Chex Cereal

Skim Milk

Chicken Sausage

Chicken Tenders

Zucchini

Protein Powder

2% Milk

Ground Beef

Mushrooms

Taco Seasoning x2

Whole Milk

Bacon

Green Beans

Spaghetti Sauce

Almond Milk

Broccoli

English Muffins

Plain Greek Yogurt

Berries

Fritos

Grapes

Olives

Bananas

Almond Butter

Cantaloupe

Chia Seeds

Pineapple

Brown Rice

Green Onion

Lime x2

Cilantro

Lemon

Apples

       

Yes there are 4 members of our family and we buy 4 different kinds of milk.  The Big One is allergic to dairy so we buy almond milk for him.  The Little One drinks whole milk; he still needs the extra fat for brain development. Kelly prefers 2% and I drink skim because that is what I grew up on and everything else is gross!

I very rarely buy things that are not on my list.  I can’t have sweets and junk food in the house or I will eat the whole bag, jar, container, etc.  I do much better when I go out to get a sweet treat on occasion.

And there you have it.  Meal planning for dummies. Rolling on the floor laughing


Do you bring a list with you to the grocery store or do you prefer to wing it?

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5 thoughts on “Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping

  1. Brit this is awesome! I will have to admit that I HATE shopping so with the exception on fresh produce and sometimes bread and milk I also stick to a plan VERY similar to this… i usually try and do a month at a time. I agree if you plan 7 meals or in my case 30 meals you end up with wasted food or meals that are never cooked. i found out if I can plan about 18 meals that works best for the month for my family. This meal planning is awesome especially when you go to cook dinner you don’t have to waste time or energy to think about what you want. Also if early enough in the day you can think about it, then you can pull the meat out or start preparing so the task doesn’t seem to large. Lastly I really like by planning your meals it can save money in multiple ways. Not only do you not feel like you have nothing (even though your house is actulaly full of food) but you can plan meals to use the leftovers within the week so you don’t have to buy so much extra. For example you can plan to have a roast one night and a few nights later shred the rest for pilled BBQ sandwhiches. If the night you make the roast you cook one that may be bigger than you need then you have just saved yourself the work of having to cook the meat for the sandwiches… OH.MY. WORD… i hope you don’t feel like I am trying to take over your blog because I PROMISE I am not I am agreeing with you. I am so excited to see what else you post on here and can’t wait to read them… it has been forever we need to catch up!!! i too have 2 kids (boys) and am expecting the next one in March. 😀 miss you friend! excited about your blog!!! 🙂

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