Yesterday I sat down to plan out our meals for the rest of the week. Today involves a stop at the grocery store – and I want it to be my only one for the week. Yes, I’ll admit to being the organized type who write out a menu of what we’ll be eating for supper each night. It’s flexible; what’s written down for Wednesday night may end up being served Saturday night, but at least I have a plan. It helps me know exactly what items I need to purchase at the grocery store and if there’s any pre-planning such as thawing, chopping vegetables, etc.
Often, however, when I sit down to write out a meal plan, my mind struggles to come up with ideas. That’s when I fall back on these three meal-planning tips.
- See what I have on hand. Checking to see what meat is in the freezer, how much pasta is in the pantry or which produce is nearly ripe gives me a starting point for a meal and means that I should spend less at the grocery store by using what’s already in my kitchen.
- Peruse the current sales at my grocery store. While I typically shop at Publix, I don’t receive their sales flyer in the mail; therefore, I check their website or, even better, a blog such as I Heart Publix that shows current sales matched with available coupons for the maximum savings.
- Default to old favorites. I try to always have ingredients on hand to make Cajun Chicken Pasta because the whole family likes it and it’s simple to prepare. I also check the calendar to see what activities are scheduled; if I know it’s going to be a busy night, I’ll plan something that can be put in the slow cooker or prepared ahead of time.