Meal Planning and Grocery Lists

The best way to ensure that you eat at home and go grocery shopping with a purpose is to meal plan. I know…easier said than done. During the summer, life is a bit more laid back, but once school starts back, the craziness begins! Work schedules, homework, gymnastics practice, soccer practice, remembering to pack ballet clothes, making lunches… I really just want summer to last one more month.

So I try to be good during the school year and plan out all our meals in advance. I think of it this way…if we could just make it to Wednesday, the rest is easy. Basically, I plan Sunday-Wednesday. Thursday is leftovers and clean out the fridge night. Friday is date night. Sat. is family night out.

So here are some helpful hints to plan out your meals and go grocery shopping:

1. Take stock of what you have and what you can make with it. Go through the fridge, freezer, and cabinets to see if there are any parts of a meal you already have so you don’t buy something you don’t need.

2. Ask the family some ideas. What do you guys want for dinner this week? Let the kids go through a couple of cookbooks and magazines to see if there is something they might like to try. If they don’t help you out, threaten to make liver and onions. That will do it.

3. When you make your list, divide up your headings for each section of the grocery store.
Produce, Meats, Dairy, Grains/Pasta, Canned Goods, Baking, Frozen, Drinks, Breads, Misc. Items (like cat litter, paper towels, and batteries)

4. Shop the perimeter of the store for the bulk of your items. I know this is old news, but all the best and healthiest items are in the perimeter.

5. If you have coupons, have them ready. I have to be honest and say I don’t really use coupons. Most coupons I see are not for foods we typically eat. Sometimes I may have a coupon for dog food, cat litter, Greek yogurt, or cereal; I find most coupons are for processed and unhealthy foods, so I don’t really get in to the whole couponing thing.

Here is my meal plan for this week:
Sunday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas, home made cornbread
Monday: Pulled Pork sammies, baked beans, and broccoli
Tuesday: Tacos
Wednesday: Chicken cacciatore with pasta and corn
Thursday: Clean out the Fridge/Leftover Night
Friday: Eat Out
Sat: Eat Out

Breakfasts: Cereal, eggs, oatmeal, grits, French toast, lots of coffee for me =)
Lunches during the school year may be leftovers, sandwiches, or salads with the occasional school lunch.

Each week, I will post a new meal plan. Maybe that will help you guys get some ideas.

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