Writing a weekly meal plan, especially if you’ve never done it before, can seem like a daunting task. Yes, it does take time to write one but the time spent is well worth the time and money you will save each week. If you know what you’ll be cooking every day and you have the ingredients to do so you’ll notice a significant reduction of those “what should I cook?” moments as you stare vacantly into the fridge. Below are some tips for writing meal plans that are healthy and that keep costs to a reasonable amount.
|This cute baby is finally feeding himself.
Have a food budget. Start by considering how much you want to spend on food each week. With three little children (5, 2.5 and 10 months) we spend an average of $100/week on grocery. This doesn’t include the cost of meat, which we purchase once a year, or the cost of produce that I preserve throughout the year.
Look in your fridge, freezer and pantry. Write down any food items that need to be consumed. We often waste food because we forget about it or don’t store it properly. Love Food Hate Waste has some tips on how to store food, cook proper portions and use up leftovers.
|How did that end up on your sleeve?
Consider healthy foods. Healthful eating means different things to different people. Having a meal plan can help you be purposeful about eating wholesome foods. Our family eats real foods which includes things like organic grass-fed beef, a variety of organic seasonal vegetables and fruits, legumes, rice, sourdough bread, eggs, butter, and coconut oil.
Get inspired. I find it helpful to use a variety of sources for meal inspirations. Check out some cookbooks from the library. And of course there is the internet, there are so many awesome food sites online. Here are some of my go to sites: Food Blog Search, Epicurious, Food Network Canada, Food Renegade and Simply Recipes. If you have favourite food sites I would love to hear about them… hint hint… nudge nudge..
Remember the season. If you want to eat food that tastes good eat seasonally. Don’t eat fresh tomatoes and strawberries in January. Seasonal food is often less expensive too. Win-win!
Check the flyers. It helps to know what is being discounted at the grocery store before you arrive. If you don’t receive flyers many grocery stores have a online flyer that can be accessed. That being said don’t buy junk simply because it’s on sale.
Write down the days of the week, or use a template. Make note of your slow days and busy days. It isn’t wise to make a complicated meal on a day that will be very busy.
|Deer sausage – yum!
Assign meals to each day. Keep in mind the tips mentioned about. It also helps to keep a list or binder of your favourite recipes.
Plan to use supper leftovers for lunches. If there is extra food from supper the night before eat it for lunch. Use extra potato wedges to make Irish nachos for lunch or leftover veggies to make a soup.
Make a list of any ingredients that need to be purchased. Always check your pantry before adding items to your list so that you don’t end up purchasing something you already have. I also have a “need to buy” list that I add to throughout the week as we run out of items.
The more often you make a weekly menu the easier it becomes. Feel free to share any other tips for making a weekly meal plan.
This post is linked-up to the Barn Hop.