There are so many reasons why it is great to plan your meals weekly. Here are a few of the reasons why and some tips and tricks to help you with it! I usually go grocery shopping twice a month (once per paycheck) with maybe a quick trip for some fresh fruits, veggies, and milk in between! It is so much better than when I first got married and was going probably once a day, anytime a new item made it onto my list!
Reasons to Meal Plan
1. Saves you TIME
-time at the store because you've already made your list
-time at home wondering what to cook
-time not having run to the store in between grocery trips to get the one ingredient you're missing
2. Saves you MONEY
-You choose meals before you leave the house, and check and see if you have any of the ingredients already in your pantry, so you're not buying extras at the store
-If you're strong enough to stick to your list, you don't walk out of the store with a ton of unnecessary items
-You're not making so many "in between" trips, picking up extra items each time
3. Makes HEALTHY choices easier
-It keeps healthy options available in your fridge and pantry, so there are less bad options when looking for something to fill you up quick
-If you have all the ingredients for a healthy meal, you're more likely to cook that, rather than have to think of something else
-You'll want to use up the groceries you spent money on instead of getting take-out
Tips on How to Plan
1. I decide how long I want to plan for.
For example, if I'm trying to plan for two weeks, I pick about 10 meals. Ten week nights in two weeks, and between left-overs, being social on the weekend, or lazy nights when dinner is cereal, this usually works out.
2. I pick the meals first.
I try and pick a good variety, like a meal with pasta, one with beef, something with seafood. That way when we're picking what we want to make that night we're not choosing from five meals involving chicken.
3. I break the meals down by ingredients to form my list
I look at the recipes to see what I need and then look in the kitchen to see what I already have. Whatever's missing makes the list.
4. I have the Menu Options visible
I have them taped to the chalkboard in our kitchen, so in theory, whoever gets home first for the day can look at the options and lay out the stuff to make dinner
5. I pick my fresh food carefully
If something can only last a few days in the fridge, I make sure we eat that item as one of the first meals. If other things keep longer they go to the back of the list. And if there are too many fresh items that won't keep long enough for us to eat them, those get added to the weekly milk run list (you would be shocked at how much milk we drink, averages about 4 gallons a week).
So it takes a little bit of time and effort, but it makes life so much easier! I highly suggest meal planning. I no longer live at the grocery, and I'm all about cutting down on errands! Plus when you are both worn out from your day, it's nice to just pick something, make it, and be done!
Now if only there were an effective way to plan out who does the dishes...