In our home, meal planning is essential to an organized week. If we don’t do the prep work, we often find ourselves eating quick fast food meals that deplete our wallets and increases our belt loops.
I will admit that I am kind of cheating here because I hosted a month challenge in September called, Meal Planning On A Budget. I never got around to doing a month wrap up so I am gonna sneak that into today’s post. Not to mention it is WW Wednesday so you are getting 3 posts in the viewing pleasure of one!
It is amazing to me how counter intuitive organizing can be sometimes. Specifically with meal planning, if you have a busy week in store, just eat out was always my thought! My main reason for starting to plan our meals was financial. I realized after the first week however, the benefits were so much more than that!
In the month of September, we spent each Sunday morning planning our meals for the week, looking through the coupons in our paper and going out to shop. We spent maybe 30 minutes preparing and about two hours out. We stayed within budget of $50 each week, tried a whole bunch of awesome recipes and ate 100% better than we had been.
In order to make it easy each week I created a few documents to help. They were extremely helpful over the last 4 weeks and I am going to continue to use them each week. It was amazing how much food we had in our two freezers and pantry. Some of it was going to expire soon so we used that which felt great because it didn’t go to waste. I loved mapping out everything on the month calendar so we could see ahead days we would be eating out, when we would be home for a few days to make a large meal for leftovers, etc… The meal plan and grocery list were essential to keeping to our budget. It kept us away from buying extra ingredients or more snacks than we would need that week.
I also went through our cookbook shelves and dwindled it down to 1 shelf of our favorite books and a binder divided up by category. I took pictures of recipes from my favorite cookbooks and tore out pages from the magazines we had to add to the binder. Unfortunately I forgot it at home and am visiting my parents for the week. I will make sure to share a picture when I get home.
Planning ahead also allowed me to maximize my WW point allowance each week. This has been really important to keep my supply up for P. Eating a few quick junk food items a day was horrible on my supply, energy and self esteem I was able to eat more than twice the amount of food and stay within my points. Rob and I also had more “family” meals together that were quite tasty. This month is a little crazy with me visiting my parents for a week, vacationing in OBX for a week and now possibly moving the end of October but we will push through and plan ahead 🙂