How-To Plan, Meal Plan

Today, I am going to show you how I have embarked upon this phenomena called Meal Planning. Planning isn’t really my cup of tea. And I have definitely never planned for the things that I will eat later in the day, much less plan everything I will  put in my mouth for an entire week.

To illustrate how poor planning affect me and other people, I will show you a series of images. And at the end, I will explain how to go about meal-planning and my meal plan for this week. Bear with me here, I have a degree in Psychology.

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Poor planning leads you to pack only one of your husband’s shoes. The other one was in another bag and neither shoe was worn the entire trip.

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Poor planning causes you to be unprepared for spills on fancy jackets. Then, you must hand wash. It is hard.

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Poor planning makes your husband upset at you. Fact.

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Poor planning makes SpongeBob ugly. FACT.

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Poor planning causes an AWESOME dinosaur park to close. SUPER FACT.

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In all seriousness, what you don’t want poor planning to lead to is this. You don’t want poor planning to affect your nutrition. (These were fries at the airport in Amsterdam so I don’t think it really counts)

So here’s what we’re going to do from now on (or until I get really tired of planning and hire a chef and retire to the Bahamas): we are going to plan our meals for the week. From Monday to Sunday, all dinners will be accounted for. The previous Sunday, we will grocery shop and we’re going to give ourselves a day off on Saturdays.

How do we go about this, you ask?

#1.  Decide the meals you will be cooking that week. This is much harder than it seems. You want to give yourself enough variety and nutrition, but at the same time, you don’t want to be wasteful to the produce you may buy that week.

Here’s how I started:

Monday: Crock Pot Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna.

alright, easy enough.

#2. List out a general recipe for your meal. You can skip thing of which you have plenty. If it’s a new recipe you’re going to use, then go ahead, list out exact amounts. This is a personal guide for you, so tailor it to your needs. For the lasagna I wrote down:

Filling: Spinach, mushrooms, shredded cheese, walnuts
Parmesan sauce: 3 Tbsp. butter, 2 Tbsp. flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cayenne, 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup  KRAFT Parmesan Cheese– cooked on stove

#3. Add a column for anything related to the meal you will be making. For the lasagna, I wrote out the need to get everything prepared the night before. I don’t generally do that, so it was necessary to remind myself that I had to do the preparation ahead of time.

Congrats! You’ve gotten one meal out of the way! Let’s move on.

(Note: we’re going to a cooking class on Tuesday, so that day I’ve just blocked off)

#4. Knowing your own consumption rates, determine other meals using the same ingredients. We never go through an entire bunch of spinach or an entire batch of mushrooms, so I knew that this would be a common ingredient for at least two or three meals throughout the week.

I like to mix it up a bit so we’re not eating pasta or rice  two days in a row, so I came up with:

Wednesday: Cheese and Spinach pizza.

again, list out the general ingredient list and/or recipe.

#5. Keep going! I had to do a lot of research. You know, finding recipes you’ve wanted to try out, sure-fire meals you’ve been craving, or just making something different. This is Thursday:

Thursday: Couscous salad with honey vinaigrette and avocado panini

#6. Don’t be afraid of holes or something that’s not totally planned. Sometimes you just can’t come up with enough ideas. Leave it blank. The world won’t come crashing to a halt and your puppy won’t run away from home or anything. You have plenty of time to figure this out. Here’s what my schedule looked like for Friday:

Friday: Neil’s dinner!

You can revisit your plan like I did today and decide that hm. That mushroom bourguignon idea was really somethin’. And if Neil doesn’t feel like thinking about what to make Friday night, that will be the backup plan.

See? Just be cool man.

#7. Give yourself an off day. C’mon. You know you don’t always feel like cooking. Plus, those leftovers really start to pile up sometimes. So take a Break Day.

Now, I could have done that on Friday with Neil’s dinner night, but I decided that Saturdays are just always going to be my off day. That’s because sometimes we go over to my parent’s for dinner, sometimes we go out, and sometimes we just eat leftovers. So that took care of Saturday:

Saturday: Leftovers/Parent’s house/Go out

And that’s it! I wrapped up the week with our Sunday Morning Grocery Shopping and

Sunday: Spaghetti with garlic bread

It takes some organization and time to figure out your schedule and then decide on a food schedule, but I tell ya, it’s well worth the effort. I stayed on target grocery shopping this past Sunday and you save so much more when you know exactly what ingredients you will be using that week.

So go forth and meal plan! Start with just the menu for one week and you’ll just want to keep going from there! I hope to keep this up and I will share our menus on the newly instated Menu Mondays!

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