Meal planning is an essential skill to master if eating real, nourishing foods is something you want to incorporate into your life. It’s something that everyone can (and should) learn to do, whether you are feeding just yourself or the mouths of a large family. Right now, it’s just the three of us. I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty darn good at meal planning. I want to pass on this skill. Let’s get to it.
What does meal planning mean for our family?
- I do our grocery shopping once every week. It’s rare that we need to make additional trips to the store mid-week, which helps us stick to our food budget.
- We spend about $350-400 per month on groceries (mostly organic!). This might sound like a lot to most people however; Nic and I consider one of our hobbies to be cooking so we are okay with spending a little more on food. Real food is our passion and we budget for that and choose to prioritize our money in a way that reflects what is important to us.
- I get most of our groceries from Trader Joe’s. I have found that they have the best prices on organic food options, at least in our area. They also have reasonably healthy “pre-packaged foods”. More on that in a minute. Weird side note: Every time I shop at Trader Joe’s with a full grocery list, I always end up spending between $73 – $78. Every time. Is that not weird?!
- We buy the low pasteurized and non-homogenized milk from the Health Hut, which I can’t get at Trader Joe’s. From there I also buy any other weird specialty crazy healthy person food I can’t find in a regular grocery store although I can get pretty much everything at Trader Joe’s. My Health Hut stop is pretty quick. I wouldn’t even classify it as “grocery shopping”. I can usually get Nic to make that stop on his way home from work, which helps me out! Thanks, Love!
- We rarely eat out. This gives us a little more wiggle room with our food budget, since that $350-400 is literally all we are spending each month.
- I plan for four recipes that are “from scratch” that make 4-6 servings (leftovers for lunches are key!) and one “pre-packaged” meal…for those nights that we are too busy or just too exhausted to put any effort into cooking.
I plan to post more in the future on meal planning specifics. I’ll share recipe choices and tips on what types of meals to choose for certain days of the week depending on what you have going on. As stated above, I pick four recipes to make each week and then one “pre-packaged” meal. Not always ideal health wise, but it’s better than fast food! This week we ate our pre-packaged meal on Wednesday night, which was Trader Joe’s spinach tortellini. I topped it with our homemade spaghetti sauce and combined it with grass fed ground beef.
The reason for my post today was actually to talk about my new super cool and awesome DIY meal planning board! For a while I was trying to organize little scrap pieces of paper around our house to remember which meals I had planned for the week. I needed a central location, or command station if you will, to showcase our meals. Not only is this helpful for me, but it allows Nic to start a meal before I get home if he has time. No searching for my scratch paper and random post it notes that make so much sense to me, but to no one else.
To make this meal planning board, I sent Nic on a search in our basement for a super ugly picture frame. The one he found was the perfect size for this project (about 10×18) and it had a black and gold frame that was dying to be painted.
I slathered two coats of grey paint on the frame (we had leftover paint from when we painted the bathroom) and let it dry overnight.
I bought a piece of fabric, cut it to fit the frame, put it behind the glass, and reassembled the whole thing. Nic secured the board to the back of our pantry door, which is the perfect central location in our kitchen. Actually, our kitchen is pretty small, so any spot in our kitchen is pretty central.
The dry erase marker wipes off easily with a tissue or kitchen rag. Easy breezy.
The cost of this meal planning board? The picture frame was scrounged from our basement. I purchased a half of a yard of fabric from Joann Fabrics with a 50% coupon, so I only paid $2.50 dolla (holla!) for this whole project. Well, I also purchased a 2 pack of dry erase markers for $2. So, I guess I spent a total of $4.50. And I upcycled an ugly frame that would have been tossed! Boom!
What do you find most helpful when you are planning your meals?
This post was shared on Fat Tuesday.
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