Adventures in Meal Planning

tumblr_mz96fvlgMs1rqj2w5o1_500When I was engaged, I spent hours dreaming about all of the dinner parties and brunches (like the fabulous one pictured above) we would host in our new home together. I knew what our dining table would look like, how I would style our bar cart, and I registered for every kitchen gadget you can think of. Unfortunately, I forgot about one major marriage detail: I am now in charge of feeding another human every single day. I went from being a single law student who started cooking (or ordering) dinner no earlier than 7pm to a wife who has to make sure her husband eats something other than a burger and fries or pizza for dinner every night. I’m also lucky enough to be married to a man who has a BIG appetite. He also loves to workout, so he needs big meals to replenish all of those calories burned.

For the last two months I’ve tried to get by with my old “plan dinner at dinnertime” routine and it has not been working at all. Not only do we end up eating dinner far too late, but I’m still left with the rest of the week to figure out. I have a bunch of friends who plan their meals out at the beginning of the week (or even month) and I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon. We’re also trying hard to clean up our diets since we’ve been eating like college students ever since we got married (pizza, kraft mac and cheese, wayyyy too many desserts). So I’m especially focused on adding more real, unprocessed foods into our meals and getting rid of the junk.

I’m currently surrounded by all of my cookbooks, a notebook, and a planner, but I need your help: Do you plan out your family’s meals? How do you stay on budget while still eating whole, unprocessed (and preferably organic) foods? Do you prep your meals at the beginning of the week or cook everyday? What are your favorite food/recipe blogs? I need all of the tips I can get!

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3 Comments on Adventures in Meal Planning

  1. Ashley
    May 13, 2015 at 3:48 pm (3 years ago)

    Love this topic!! A few food/recipe blogs that I follow for nutritious but still delicious recipes are fitmencook.com, fitfoodiele.com, and carrotsandcake.ca. I typically prep all of my meals for the week on Sundays, and since I’m currently only cooking for my tastebuds, I keep it as simple as possible and variety isn’t as big of a priority, that may be different whenever I marry though. I try to incorporate a new recipe into the mix each week. If you can find a farmer’s market nearby, that would be your best bet to keep it affordable. Fortunately I live really close to Trader Joe’s so that’s where I get a lot of my food also. Good luck!

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  2. Amber
    May 13, 2015 at 4:01 pm (3 years ago)

    1. Buy meats in bulk from Costco. It saves a ton of money! Portion them out into little baggies and keep them in the freezer and just place however many you want in the fridge to defrost overnight the evening before you’re cooking.

    2. Cook in larger portions so there are leftovers…. one night of cooking can = 2 or 3 nights of dinners. IMO its nicer to cook every few days as opposed to spending basically an entire Sunday in the kitchen cooking for the entire week.

    3. Utilize your crock pot. It can cook larger portions and its an easy, no hassle way to make meals. You can put everything in the pot in the morning and it will be ready for you by dinnertime.

    4. Buy produce at local Farmer’s markets. Quality is usually great and prices are usually cheaper.

    5. Freeze prepared foods for days you don’t feel like / don’t have time for cooking. Things like chilli and soup freeze well and only take 15 minutes or so to defrost on the stove.

    :)

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  3. Whitney
    May 13, 2015 at 5:15 pm (3 years ago)

    I definitely understand this! I use the Miss Menu meal planner. She has a notebook as well as a notepad. I have the notepad because I can plan my meals and have my grocery lists all on one sheet that I can just peel off and stick in my planner. Planning is key. Plan out all of your meals…and snacks…and desserts. This way you won’t get stuck trying to figure out what to eat and it’ll prevent eating so late. I cook every other day. I cook enough for leftovers. If I cook on Monday, I’m not cooking again until Wednesday. We usually eat out or have date night on Friday’s or Saturday’s. Don’t forget to use your Crockpot. #heaven You can put a roast in there…or stew beef…or ham…or anything else in the world and then add some vegetables around the last hour. I like to put mine on at night so when we wake up, it’s done. At least you and your husband eat alike. My husband and I are totally different and if I ate like him, I would be big as a house. Grrrrrrr! :-)

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