Last week I talked about the 6 Ways to make meal planning less complicated. It was my first week doing a weekly meal plan. This week I’m going to tell you what worked for me and what needs improvement.
Last Sunday I sat down with a couple of slices of frozen pizza, my cookbooks, my smart phone and a notebook, determined to plan out our meals for a week. My hope was to save money, save trips to the store, and to stop the aimless wandering up and down the isles trying to decide what to make for dinner. I would say we were 85% successful our first time out.
Ways our meal planning was successful
We didn’t go to the store every day. We bought all the food needed to make the dinners on our meal plan in one trip. I was certain we would have to make another trip to the store at some point during the week for another gallon of milk, or more bottled water but we were not at the store every single day.
We had food in the house for 7 dinners. I knew on any given night I had everything I needed to prepare my choice of dinners based on the meal plan I made. I may not have stuck to the schedule, but I did stick to the meals I planned. Mostly.
We were under budget. I knew what our average cost of buying dinner at the store every day was. When I made a meal plan for the week, I spent less money per meal. Sure $130 is significantly more than $25-$30 BUT over the course of a week I would have spent $175-$210 vs the $130. That’s a significant savings.
There was less junk food in the house. When you go to the store every single day, you tend to indulge in cravings. Chocolate, chips, ice cream. When you plan on going once a week, you don’t have the junk food in the house every single day.
Ways I failed at meal planning
I didn’t stick to the meal plan. I came down with some horrible chest congestion this week that made it difficult for me to breathe and therefore I felt tired and run down a lot so cooking dinner was not something I was looking forward to, or felt well enough to do. Friday night it was just me and Zoe, so I picked up a couple of frozen pizzas because I was feeling drained. The silver lining to this is the meals I have already planned and shopped for will carry over to this week.
I didn’t count on lunches when Sam was off work. Sam usually gets two days off work and that means there needs to be food to eat for lunch. Sometimes he’s ok with left overs, and I’ve been making the point that when he’s at work on the weekends Zoe and I have been eating soup and sandwiches and if it’s good enough for us, it’s good enough for him. But I know I can do better than peanut butter and jelly.
Ways I can improve at meal planning this week
Store ads. This week I had the ads from the grocery stores in our area to use when making the meal plan so I could see what was on sale this week to help save us a little more money. Last week I didn’t have the ads so this will be one more thing I can consider when planning this week’s meals.
Consider easy to put together meals. If I continue to feel under the weather, I will need to focus more on crock pot meals, or easy to throw together meals that Sam and Zoe can help me put together.
Last Week’s and This Week’s Meal Plan
Last week’s meal plan consisted of these meals.
- Crock pot lasagna (carry over to this week)
- Burgers and fries
- Tortellini Alfredo
- One skillet chicken casserole (coming soon to the blog)
- Tilapia (Carried over to this week)
- Crock pot potato soup. This is seriously the best potato soup ever. Even the left overs heat up nicely.
This week’s meal plan will be these meals.
- Crock pot lasagna
- Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sun dried tomatoes
- Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas
- Steaks on the grill
- Bacon ranch chicken casserole