Another key is having a back-up go-to family fave that you always have the ingredients for. In our house, it is tuna noodle casserole. I always have all of the ingredients on hand. Pretty healthy since I use almond milk and low fat cheese, super quick, go to meal and hubby loves it frozen for more dinners. Every household needs one – what would it be in your household?
Be sure to plan the side dishes as well. Vegetables should take up half the space on your plate. Choose fresh salads, steamed, stir-fried or roasted veggies. Stock up with frozen veggies for days you are short on the fresh stuff — they are still packed with nutrients. Our favorite alternative to the rice is quinoa.
Make A Solid List
Are you thinking, “I don’t have time to meal plan”. Believe me, I totally get it. Life is crazy busy. The truth is isn’t 5-10 minutes a week worth it when you are less stressed. Yes, you will be less stressed! Work on your list when watching TV, or messing around with your phone. Once the list is done, do your list and plan when you are going to the grocery store.
Keep the recipes in front of you when you are making your shopping list. Check the fridge, freezer or pantry to really make sure you have every item, and enough of every item you’ll need for the week. I have a wipe board on the fridge so that either hubby or I can add things as we run out or open the last one on the shelf. For the tech savvy, try keeping a running grocery list on your phone or use the ShopShop app.
When it comes to grocery shopping try to limit your trip to one or two stores. I know all the bargain hunters and couponers out there are tossing daggars at me, but for me, it doesn’t make sense to spend time and gas running from store to store for some savings. Don’t get me wrong, I do compare prices between my usual 2 or 3 places. Remember that your time has value too. You will be surprised how much money you save just by having a solid grocery list (and sticking to it).
Alright, so meal planning may not change your life but it will help you feel more in control of your hectic weeks. An added perk is to actually have an answer when the kids ask you “what’s for dinner!?”
Happy organizing and meal planning!
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!