April has brought me into a really great cooking groove. So with that in mind, I'm going to share with y'all the scoop on what my meal planning looks like for this month's Plan with Me.
For those of you who follow us - you know that I've not stopped talking about Lucky Market since they opened a store in a city nearby. I love the wide array of fresh items that are available in the market and I truly feel so spoiled to have so much variety in our meals.
Did I mention the fact that they serve their shoppers wine? Just an itty bitty bonus...
I've been through many different phases of grocery shopping plans. I'll dabble with grocery lists, our meal planning pads, online grocery shopping - but right now my main squeeze is taking a Friday night stroll through the grocery store to load up on meats and veggies that look good. I know that sounds like a really woo-woo thing to do, but right now it's what is working for me. I bring home hand chosen selections - and yes I usually snack on a few things as I unload (guilty, guilty!). I put all of my produce in the appropriate spot (I put almost everything in the fridge) and meat is loaded up into the freezer.
Except the bacon, we need the bacon...
Pro tip: If you're looking to grocery shop on a budget, I'd recommend a discount supermarket chain (like Aldi) or shopping online (Walmart Grocery Pickup). I've done both - they have great options and wont break the bank. Not to mention, when you shop online with a service like Walmart Grocery Pickup, you know exactly how much your shopping cart is going to cost you.
Every Sunday afternoon I get the itch to get my planner out and do some planning. Honestly, this is a learned practice - and that "itch" I'm referring to is likely the pain of un-planned weeks from the past. You know how they say "A Sunday well spent brings a week of content" ? - well they are totally right.
I always start with the main dish..
I use my Keeping it Together Daily Planner's peek at the week to jot down an outline for my meal plan. This section can be used for SO many things, but for me - she's my down and dirty meal planner. I enjoy cooking every night, so I try to rotate around different protein options, fit in a salad and some fish throughout the week. My goal? To not eat similar meals two nights in a row.
Unless it's tacos. Always say yes to tacos.
Once I'm pleased with my sequence, I open up my Keeping it Together Weekly Planner and get to work. I use my weekly planner as my family overview - so it's much more "curated" in appearance. I start to jot down my main dishes on each day, and then I figure out my sides.
You have to plan for produce...
Why? Because it goes bad. I can't tell you how many times I've delayed eating spinach just to find it slimy and stinky!
I rummage through my fridge to remind myself what I've got and then I'll pair sides with my main dishes. If my plans run out of days before I run out of produce - I go back to figure out where I can fit in some more veggies.
Day by Day
I never remember my plans - which is probably one of the reasons I need a planner. I reference my weekly planner (which typically sits out on my counter) so I can figure out what the meal plan for each day is. I set the meat out so it's defrosted in time for me to cook in the evening.
It's a simple routine, but I am loving it as of late. How are you meal planning?