Meal Planning 101

Those that know me, know that I like to plan my meals each week or even for several weeks at a time.  I think this saves money and helps my week go smoothly because I know I have what I need to fix the meals for that week.  Typically I like to look at my grocery store sales, I shop at Kroger, Whole Foods, and the Farmers Market, and then I plan my meals based on what is on sale when I am going shopping.

So here is my process:

First, I check the stores sales for the week.  Usually each store has a sales flyer online.  Based on what is on sale I try to build my meals around these items.  Whole Foods makes this really easy at their store because they do a daily meal planner for the week based on items that are on sale in their store.  They also do budget friendly recipes, which also includes recipes with items that are on sale.  Both stores are great because they have online coupons.  I am not an extremely couponer by any means, but I do look for items on sale and coupons that are available the week I am going shopping.

Second, I plan out my meals for about two weeks based on the items that are on sale.  I try to write everything up including the sales and coupons.  For example, if I have a coupon for greek yogurt I write yogurt: Oikos Greek yogurt 4 -$.50 off or Organic apples – 4 for $2.  That way I don’t have to look through coupons while I am shopping.  I find this way the easiest.  This past shopping trip we spent about $170 on food ($120 at Kroger and $50 at Whole Foods) for two adults.  Usually this amount of food will last for about 3 weeks, but I plan meals for at least two weeks and I usually end up with a enough food to make it at least 3 weeks.

I usually eat self-prepared meals most days of the week, but we do occasionally go out to eat and I usually eat out for lunch once a week.  For breakfast meals I typically eat oatmeal and yogurt, boiled eggs and toast/english muffins, fruit, or smoothies.  For lunch I usually eat leftovers, homemade wraps, carrots, fruit, salads,veggies, soups, and sandwiches.  Our dinner meals are listed below.

Here are the dinner meals:

1) Chicken Stir-fry with fresh veggies and rice

2) Sesame Orange Greens with Potstickers (WH: budget friendly recipes)

potstickers

3) New King Ranch Casserole – coupon online for chicken (WH: budget friendly recipes)

cassserole

4) Salmon, Spinach and rice (Prepare the Salmon any way you would like!)

5) Chicken Sausage, pasta, pasta sauce and broccoli

6) Pizza, spinach/greens (Pizza is always on sale and good to have on days when you don’t want to cook)

7) Touchdown Turkey Chili, Tortilla Chips, Cheese, Sour Cream

8) Chicken Sausage, Spinach & Cheese Lasagna

9) Chicken with Parm., Garlic, and Herb Crust, broccoli, rice

Chicken With Parmesan, Garlic, and Herb Crust

10) Chicken Fajitas, Corn

11) Salmon, Greens, pasta (Prepare the Salmon any way you would like!)

12) Roasted Chicken (Kroger), broccoli, potatoes

13) Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken, rice, Veggies

Most of these meals can be made vegetarian by removing the meat and adding beans, tofu or other substitutes.

Depending on what you do with your leftovers, you may be able to stretch these meals for more than one day.  I hope to share more recipes and meal plans in the future.  Happy Cooking! ❤ Kia Elise 01.30.13

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