January 07, 2011

Meal Planning

Alright, so let’s talk about how to keep a healthy diet in the home without spending hundreds of extra dollars in order to do it. I’ve been a food budget for almost a year now, paying cash only, and when the cash runs out that’s what I have to live on until pay day. This in theory can sound very difficult, but it really isn’t! I’ve posted before about Pantry Meals and healthy family habits, and I just wanted to show you how my 2 weeks of healthy eating will begin. Here are my steps.

1. Write out a meal plan for dinner for 2 weeks
2. Search for coupons and what is needed in the pantry and freezer
3. Write out my grocery list by section of the store (I shop at WinCo – it’s the least expensive store, has bulk foods, and easy to navigate store)
4. Buy bulk meat at Costco – now you can choose to do Safeway, WinCo, or your local meat market, but I enjoy the Costco trip and their prices stay the same every month. Also, stick with lean meats, i.e. ground turkey, pork, and chicken. If you are going with beef, get as lean as possible, below 10%.
5. Stick to your meals – no eating out. Keep a list on a white board in the kitchen, check off the meals as you cook them. If you have an event or do a pizza night, plan it into your budget and grocery shopping, and then you won’t over buy food that won’t get eaten anytime soon.

Here’s my menu for the next 2 weeks:
1. Chicken/hard boiled egg salad with melon slices
2. Roasted chicken, red potatoes, steamed vegy
3. Taco Salad w/ turkey meat
4. grilled pork, peppers & onions with rice
5. Turkey burgers w/ fruit & fries
6. Mini Pizzas w/ fruit
7. Sushi & fried rice
8. Stuffed Chicken
9. The Heart Family Soup
10. Burritos
11. Baked Pork chops w/ roasted potatoes & vegetables
12. Turkey Meatballs & Spaghetti
13. Chicken & Rice casserole w/ Salad
14. Chicken pot pie

As you can see I have a lot of chicken dishes, and also ground turkey and pork. These are staples in our home. I have one beef meal (the soup dish, with stew meat), and I think it’s good to add that in at times to give your food some variation as well as a different nutrients. Now, I did not add in my events and pizza night into this because I use extra meals before going shopping again (Plus, with pizza night I usually add a salad, so I need that added in). So, this way I can have a reserve meal in place if I can’t make it to the store before I need to. Some weeks I will just add those in, but my freezer’s a little bare, so I couldn’t go that direction this week. I hope this can help you in your lifestyle changes and encourage you to avoid the drive-threw and take out!

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