Monday, January 2, 2012

Meal-Planning

Vermont, Summer 2011

When we're on top of our game, Hank and I will take Sunday night and plan out what we want to eat for dinner over the next week. This is awesome on so many levels. For one, it makes my weekly food shopping so much more focused and two, it keeps us on the same page. There are so many times when I'll want to make something for dinner only to have Hank come home and tell me he already went out for said food for lunch. This way we're organized, can look forward to delicious meals, and we have a lot of fun cooking together too.  Hank takes leftovers to work, or Henry will have them for his lunch or dinner the next day, so it saves us a lot of money (and time!). 

Below you'll find our plan for this next week. All of the meals are homemade outside of a few of the products that go into the meals. Tonight we'll be traveling and just end up grabbing something random when we get home, so this week is just a four-day plan.

Dinner 1 (Tuesday): Spaghetti and vegetarian meatballs w/semi-homemade sauce and garlic bread/salad
Dinner 2 (Wednesday): Bean, cheese, and veggie burritos w/guacamole
Dinner 3 (Thursday): Brown rice and veggie stirfry
Dinner 4 (Friday): Vegetarian Pot Pies (using Quorn "chicken") w/salad

From here I then break it down to a shopping list based on what we have and what we need after a simple look in the pantry and fridge.  Once you make lists like this for a couple of weeks you become very aware of all of the food you have that you don't use, food you buy that goes to waste, etc. I love the mindfulness meal-planning gives me. Another bonus is that usually a couple of the days will have overlapping items and this saves money too- simply reserve enough of whatever item you'll need again and you can get two or even three meals out of it.  For instance we will use many of the same vegetables in meal one, two, and three, and then again with our salads.

Here's this week's shopping list- things we need for our meals that we don't already have at home. Always be sure to check for available grocery coupons too. 

veggie meatballs (you can also make your own)
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
broccoli
yellow onion
cherry tomatoes
3 avocados
salad greens
block of sharp cheddar
loaf of French bread
tortillas

And that's it! We try to buy organic whenever we can, so most of our shopping is done at our local natural grocer but I'm always sure to check the ads and buy as much as I can on sale.

Do you meal-plan? If not, this is the perfect time to start! If you're interested, my friend Rachel did an informative post on how she meal plans, and it's a great read. I'll also be sharing our meal ideas throughout the week if you guys would like, so let me know if that's something you'd enjoy reading about. We usually don't cook anything super complicated or crazy, but we do keep it very healthy and typically vegan or vegetarian. 

Have a great Monday!

41 comments:

  1. This is such a lovely idea! I'm actually going to go grocery shopping this week so I may use this to help me out!

    Great way to start off the new year!

    Marja <3

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  2. this post is just about word for word how things go around here too. crazy that the exact same thing you do is how things are done around here!

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  3. I love this! My husband is a chef so he comes home really late at night and has to make something with less nutritional value so it doesn't take long and then he can go to bed. Which is really not ideal. So we plan what we're going to have and I have it ready for him when he gets home. We also do small shops so our fresh produce doesn't go to waste as it doesn't keep well the entire week.

    Lauren
    http://tasteslikelove.blogspot.com

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  4. what a brilliant idea :) and really love your meal choices, they sound delicious. I dont tend to meal plan down to a T like you do, but I do put some thought into meals for at least 3-4 days in advance. I also try things that I havent had in a while or change up the recipe so I can work out what I like and dont like. Might have to try a meal plan like yours as you said it would definitely make shopping a lot easier!!

    xx

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  5. can I just say your menu for the next week sounds absolutely delicious? Maybe I should start meal planning...then I'd actually have ingredients to make food with :)

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  6. I meal plan every week. It means that I can actaully get all our groceries for under £30 ($46) a week. It also means when I get in the door from work I know exactly what I'm cooking and there is no umming and ahhing about it. It also means I remember when to get stuff out to defrost in time!
    Meal planning really does save me a lot of stress, cash and time.

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  7. This is such a good idea. I end up planning everything on the fly, and having stuff I do'nt use and having to go buy things almost every day. This seems like it would make it super economical and easy.

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  8. this is on my list of things to try and start doing for the new year! not only does it make it easier to eat healthy it is also budget friendly.

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  9. this is such a great post! meals can be so stressful when you don't plan ahead (as i often don't). but i do love opening up cookbooks and picking some new meals to make. another reason i'm excited to be moving :)

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  10. this is such a great post! meals can be so stressful when you don't plan ahead (as i often don't). but i do love opening up cookbooks and picking some new meals to make. another reason i'm excited to be moving :)

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  11. This is a very interesting post. I'm not that organized and sometimes, it's a real problem. I think i'll try a planning like this! Thanks.

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  12. Yum.

    I'm going to try to be more organized about planning the meals during the week. I may try to post a menu so that everyone in my crew is onboard and not complaining about the meal for the night.

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  13. We pretty much do the same thing in our house--our meal plan is rough idea of basic meals that we'll eat that week and a list of what we don't have on hand to make them. I try to cook as much as I can with staples (quinoa, brown rice, fresh veggies), so even though we eat different meals every week, our shopping cart looks the pretty much the same--basics from the bulk food section(usually dry beans, brown rice, oats and quinoa), fresh fruits and veggies, a little meat, plus a few 'extras' that vary each week. So I always have what I need for the week on hand, plus enough basics to make a few of our favorite meals if we're in the mood for them. When I started choosing healthier (and more meat-free) meals for my family and shopping like this, I saved TONS of money by not buying processed foods. I usually spent less shopping like this at our local natural grocery store than friends who plan their meals around sale ads.

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  14. I love this idea. My husband and I own an automotive repair shop and some weeks every day is a 12 hour workday. This both gives me an excuse to not have a meal plan and leaves me begging for a more organized meal schedule. I read about a meal plan first in Tsh Oxenreider's book, and I've been wanting to try it. I like how simple yours seems.

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  15. I'm right there with you. I love to meal plan. I have to admit that we get lazy sometimes and it just doesn't happen-- but financially we DEFINITELY notice and always resort back to planning out our meals. It really is, as you said, "a mindful" way of doing things. Well said.

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  16. I have been meal-planning for a few years now and I love it! On the weeks I don't meal plan I feel like such a mess!

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  17. it all sounds so delicious! and its nice to be on the same page about what your making for dinner, it does make it much easier to plan and not get doubled up on the same meals!

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  18. Great Ideas! I need to do this more often.I dont eat meat and my husband does so It makes it hard sometimes. We also have to kids that dont eat anything so I guess you cant win em all!

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  19. Smart idea! Also, those meals sound amazing! I'm a fairly new - one year - vegetarian and I end up eating the same things all the time because I never know what else to make/don't have the time to make some more fun things. I'll definitely have to try some new stuff though! :]

    Hope you had a lovely NYE.
    xx. Jillian

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  20. I love to meal plan! I do it the same way you do, and it makes such a difference. On a moments notice I could tell you everything in my pantry if asked! Now, if I go to the store without a list I get all twitchy and nervous that we're going to overspend.

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  21. I tried to start meal planning a few weeks ago, but failed because the hoidays kind of threw everything off. However, one of my new years goals is to start meal planning. I'm one to go grocery shopping and just buy whatever and then I hardly ever have anything to actually make complete meals. With the new year comes a new way of grocery shopping

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  22. This is absolutely something I have to do...we decide our dinners by looking at each other and saying "What do you want to eat tonight?" but as a result we don't buy particularly intelligently.

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  23. just stumbled over to your blog from HG and LOVE it! :) We have a lot in common....especially being a vegetarian and eating healthy! Please do share your planning. I'm a house of 1 but it's always nice to see what veggie staples other people are eating!

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  24. I love this! We tend to go in waves of meal planning and flying by the sat of our pants. We're currently on the planning side...We plan 2 weeks in advance for lunch and dinner, taking into account leftovers. We generally will look through our pantry and freezer, plan around what we have on hand and then figure out what needs to be purchased to round out the meals. I love having a plan, but we also allow for switches and "fend for yourself" nights where we can each eat whatever we want to, but we each have to prepare it ourselves :-)

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  25. We started meal planning about a year ago. It is so helpful. We even try to make the bulk of our meals on Saturday or Sunday so we have more family time during the week in the evenings.

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  26. My hubby and I have been meal planning and grocery shopping every Sunday for the past 2 months- and it's been wonderful! Here's the nifty sheet I use for my meals and it has a grocery list at the bottom:

    http://theprojectgirl.com/downloads/theprojectgirl.com-mealplanner.pdf

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  27. I think I'll make meal-planning my resolution this year. We typically eat vegan/vegetarian too, so I look forward to reading about your meal ideas!

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  28. I would love to see the recipes for those meals.

    What do you mean by semi-homemade sauce?

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  29. Love love love this post. I really only have me to cook for but I can never find simple dishes like these that I could make and be delicious. Recipes would be amazing for these if you were able to post them!

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  30. i try to meal plan. sometimes though, it takes a backseat. :c i would love to read about your meal ideas and add some to our go-to dinners.

    thanks for reminding me to meal plan more often!

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  31. meal plan is so great, and helps a lot with your bank account because you know what to buy and not spend more than you have planed :)
    I love this post, thanks for reminding me to meal plan again.

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  32. Yum! Those veggie meatballs sound awesome. I love how many veggies you buy for the week, I need to do that more. Thanks again for connecting your wonderful readers to my blog, I really appreciate your thoughtfulness! :)

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  33. This is a great post thanks! This year I want to waste less food and this is a great way to do it.

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  34. i have found meal planning is key. i try to plan a few meals for the week and then wing the others. i have also found with three kids i have to be on top! if i meal plan i'm ahead of schedule.

    great post ;)

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  35. Thank you so much for this. Such great timing. I'm giving up meat for 21 days this month and I need help planning healthy, meatless meals.

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  36. What a strange coincidence! One of my goals for this new year is to start meal planning again. I did good for a while then xmas came and all the busy-ness kind of screwed it up. I just made a list earlier today for our next week and then I get on my google reader and you are doing the same!!! xoxo

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  37. this makes me WANT to meal plan... maybe after we get all settled into the new house :)

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  38. We've been meal planning for a long time, but we're new to the meatless game. I would love to hear more vegetarian meal ideas if you'd like to share!

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