The idea of meal planning is something I have heard about since my older kids were little. Probably one of the first MOPS meetings I went to was about meal planning and prep. But it’s never been something that would stick with me. But here we are in a new year, and it is time to start a new routine. Combine that with a desire to eat healthier and save more money, meal planning is the way to go. Last week I saw a post from $5 dinners. The post was her shopping trip to Costco for $150. That inspired me to get on Pinterest and actually look at all those pins I put on my boards last year. The meals ranged from creamy casseroles to Paleo inspired dishes that featured elk meat. I knew my family wouldn’t want anything extreme so I aimed for recipes that were in the middle of the healthy spectrum with a few meals that were more and less healthy to expand our pallets.
A few things you should know about my methods before we begin.
1. I don’t coupon clip or shop adds. If I see a good deal at the store I will stock up on it, like canned tomatoes or beans. For the most part, I don’t use coupons. I figure any meal we don’t eat out is saving us about $25 dollars a pop, so that’s where I’m saving money.
2. I will try a few new things once in a while, but I tend to stick with what our family likes. Which I’m sure most people do.
3. I do subscribe to Mperks, which are digital coupons for Meijer stores. If you’re grocery store offers something similar, you should sign up. It’s a super easy way to coupon without keeping track of little pieces of paper.
4. I shop once a month for everything, with a smaller run later on in the month to stock up on snacks or basics like milk.
5. Some of the recipes I use come from the ones that I have tested over the last ten years and our family likes. Some are from the websites, Graciously saved and still others are from the Gracious pantry.
6. I don’t make a lot of bread because three-fifths of our house eats gluten-free. I occasionally will make gluten-free biscuits or corn bread, but not usually.
1. Take hunks of meat or fish, beef, chicken, ground beef or whatever else your heart desires and combine them with sauces and vegetables in a one-gallon freezer bag.
2. Lay flat in your freezer so it stays thin. This allows for the bags to not take a bunch of space in your freezer. You can stack them on top of each other like so.
3. If you have a deep freezer, then take the frozen entrees and put them in your deep freeze.
4. After reading online, I have found potatoes don’t do well in the freezer, so I usually cook them, or other starches like pasta, rice or quinoa, when I am ready to prepare dinner.
It’s really that simple. Tomorrow I will have the actual meal plan and recipes for you.