How To Plan Your Meals for the Week


TRAINING: 30 minutes on the elliptical and standing crunches in the shower (I was running a tad behind this A.M. oopsies!)

FOOD JOURNAL:

  • BREAKFAST: smoothie with 1/2 a banana, 1/4 cup 0% Chobani, frozen mixed Wyamn’s berries, frozen mango and milk (I need some juice!)
  • SNACK: 1 snack baggie (no idea how much this is, possibly 2 cups is my guess?) full of raw carrots and celery (which I now have stuck in my teeth 😦 )
  • LUNCH: small serving of left over Guinness Pie from our party on Saturday (sorry, no recipes for this one yet, maybe some day. I can’t be spoiling you guys all the time! 😉 )
  • DINNER: Pork “Fried” Brown Rice (this is one of my newer inventions and I’m quite fond of it. It’s super healthy and very easy so stick around for it tomorrow!)

*Special Blog: Meal Planning!

Now you would never guess it from my first few weeks of posting, BUT I often come up with a meal plan for the week (I’ll add pictures for this tomorrow so sit tight!)

Now if you have never done this and often find yourself scrambling or ordering out (eek!) have no fear! I’ll walk you through how I do it and then you can tweak accordingly.

First thing’s first, take a look at what you have

Although I don’t keep a list of what I have in my cupboards or the fridge, I DO keep a list what’s in my box freezer on a color coordinated dry erase board. This means I’m not digging around expecting to find something I don’t have.

Now after last weekend and my trip out to the beautiful Adam’s Farm for all of my meat, I had this thing updated in no time. Because I get all my wonderful organic, grass feed, humane kill meat in bulk, this means all of my meat is always frozen.

I usually do my grocery shopping on either Saturday or Sunday and I plan Monday-Friday so that we have some wiggle room for any fun food projects we might want to undertake come the weekend.

I look at my staples, look in my fridge and look at the list for my freezer and start coming up with meals.

What are your scheduled activities for the week?

One of the most important things to consider is what you have planned for the week. In our house where there is only 2 of us, this can vary greatly. Some nights, one of will have an event or a meeting to go to, or I have a movie night planned with my girlfriends. On these nights, I let Matt come up with whatever he would like. I make sure to keep easy meals on hand so that he has options although he often undertakes something unique and a little bizarre! 😉

What are you making?

Next, you want to consider what you can make with what you already have and what you will need based on what you would like to make. Is there a new recipe you wanted to try? Are you going to use a familiar stand by?

For example, I know that if I have a top round steak in the freezer, and no yolk egg noodles in my pantry, all I need is some mushrooms and sour cream and I’ve got beef stroganoff. Same thing with chicken stir fry. This is a stand by. I always have a few bags of frozen stir fry veggies in the freezer and quinoa or brown rice, so all I need is some chicken and I’m good to go. No trip to the grocery store required. 🙂

“Hey! I have a coupon for that!”

 

Sometimes it’s a good idea to look at the weekly sales for your store. Also, what coupons you have and then plan meals that involve those items. But BEWARE! This is an easy way to get sucked into buying things you don’t really need or want and you can actually end up spending more in the long haul. There’s a coupon for fruit roll ups. Do I eat them? No, so obviously I don’t want to keep that coupon on the off chance I might cave and buy them, and end up eating the whole box.

The only coupons I keep are the ones I know I will use. For example, we drink V8 acai juice. I found a coupon for this in the paper last week so I’ll keep it. I keep all of my coupons in an a small folding file organized by date. I tend not to use them too often but sometimes they come in handy!

Also, as I always have my meat on hand in my freezer, I look for good deals on seafood (like shrimp and scallops) and deals on fruits and vegetables and occasionally make meals around them.

What do you need?: writing your menu & grocery list

Once you have determined the nights you need quick dinners and those you can take a little more time, what you would like to make and what you already have, now you can start making your lists. Yay! This my favorite part. I’m a list girl. I’m weird, I know this.

So let me give you the low down on MY meals planned for this week, and my grocery list. Keep in mind, I leave wiggle room. Often times I have something planned and either Matt, myself or both of us are just not up to the task. For this reason, I often leave quick meals in the freezer. I will make large quantities of something like lasagna, cottage pie or soup and then freeze it in portions so it’s ready to re-heat and eat!

List your menu, then the ingredients.  check off what you have and then make the list of only the things you need.

I write our menu for the week on a white board I have on our fridge. It’s easy access and then I can keep track. Otherwise, I’ll be staring into my fridge going “now what did I buy that for again??”

Notice the awesome “Beware of Attack Chef” magnet? Your jelous! 😉

MENU:

  • Monday: Pork “Fried” Rice:  pork, onions, mushrooms, peas, brown rice, eggs, garlic, chicken broth, soy sauce, sesame oil. 
  • Tuesday: Chicken enchilada Pie: (*New recipe) chicken, green enchilada sauce, corn muffin mix (2), green chiles, Chobani, cheddar and mexican cheese.
  • Wednesday: (cookie making=easy dinner) sautéed fish w/ lemon caper sauce: fish (cod, haddock or sole), asparagus, lemon, capers and brown rice packet
  • Thursday: Beef Stoganoff: steak, mushrooms, onions, garlic, beef broth, dijon mustard, sour cream OR plain Chobani.
  • Friday: (cookies again!) Frozen Pizza (pizza & win friday night!)

So as you see I have to work on making cookies twice this week. I sell hand decorated sugar cookies and this take a lot of time and has to be done in stages. Therefore 2 nights this week are devoted to that and need quick dinners that wont take up the kitchen for too long.

Now I compare what I already have in my house and then write my list for only what I need. I also go remove all of the meat I will need for the week from the freezer so it has a chance to thaw. This can throw a major hitch in your plan otherwise.

I also consider staples that I need and like to keep a good stock of, and things that I will need for breakfast and lunch like lettuce, milk, eggs, bread, bananas, yogurt, deli meat and cheese.

I have quite a few things that I need already like milk, Chobani, rice and onions.

Organize Your List!

Once you know what you need, write your list according to where you find them in the store. Also, make sure you indicate quantity and mark if you have a coupon:

GROCERY LIST:

Produce:

  • lettuce (mixed baby & green leaf)
  • baby bella mushrooms
  • garlic
  • bananas
  • asparagus
  • lemon (2)

Dairy:

  • eggs (I can always use more of those!)
  • corn tortillas (that’s where I find mine anyway!)
  • turkey bacon

Aisles:

  • light oatmeal bread
  • green enchilada sauce (4)(I only need 2 but I really like to have them in stock)
  • lemon juice
  • V8 acia juice (C)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Olive Oil
  • Canola Oil (^I’m just plum out of oils I guess!)
  • old bay (my mother stole mine)

Frozen:

  • peas (2)
  • pizza

Deli:

  • low sodium turkey (1/4 lb) (there will be a lot of left overs)
  • low sodium american cheese (1/2 lb)(it’s nice to have some extra on hand)

So there it is! When I go to the grocery store it usually takes me about 20 minutes max because I have my list organized.

Think about how much sense this makes.

It takes a few extra seconds to organize your list but how often (and how much does it totally suck) do you find yourself on one end of the store and you remember you needed something on the OTHER side! Then your zig-zagging your way around the store and you end up hating everything your going to make before you have even attempted it.

I write my list by how I go through my store, in a sort of loop; produce, aisles, dairy, frozen, and finish at the deli. You make think I’m weird. You may think I’m maybe even a little obsessive, BUT I don’t spend money on things I don’t need, I save a lot of money and it’s not often I find myself in the middle of making something and all of a sudden realize I’m missing a key ingredient. 

If you are looking for a similar but slightly different way to do this check out my buddy Cookin Fanatic’s whole page dedicated solely to menu planning. ;)..I just put mine in a post cause I didn’t have anything else exciting to discuss!

Good luck and happy shopping. It takes a little extra effort to organize your meals, but once you do, you won’t know how you lived without it.

..

 

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About Lindsey @ trail to train

I'm a (somewhat) normal girl with slightly unusal ideas about everything. I do fitness my way because thats the only way I know how and my extensive mishmashed knowledge of food and cooking to make great, fast, healthy meals.
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4 Responses to How To Plan Your Meals for the Week

  1. Kate says:

    Ally posted a blog about meal planning today, too!!

  2. Thanks so much for the link back on this! Great meal planning tips too – esp the one about freezing leftovers for quick yet homemade meals on a rushed night – definitely trying to do more of that with as busy as it’s been lately! 🙂

  3. forkl says:

    Haha your welcome and I noticed! I can’t believe you had perogi filling in your freezer! lol you sound like me I freeze everything! I especially love to freeze pancakes when I make them cause we always have too many. I just left them thaw and toast them and they come out perfectly 🙂
    Matt is always teasing because he gives me ‘the look’ when I make a huge portion of something and I always say “don’t worry I’ll just freeze the rest!” 😉

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