Hello everyone! I’m back with another guest post and a freebie from Bluest Blue Weddings & Designs exclusively for Fit To Serve readers! Today we’re going to be talking about meal planning and the benefits you can reap from taking a few moments a week to plan out your meals, for example saving money (so you can buy that super cute purse you saw at Target, right?). Now to start off, I do not claim to be in any way an “expert” at meal planning but I can teach you what I’ve learned in the past few months and hopefully it can be helpful for you all as well.
S A V I N G M O N E Y
Let’s be honest, we’ve all been guilty of buying items we didn’t really need at the grocery store. I’m sure we’ve all also opened up a drawer in the fridge and realized that those zucchinis we bought have “suddenly” gone bad without ever having a chance to become that delicious Zucchini Lasagna you had planned, I know I have. In fact, this was such a regular issue with me that the Hubby was starting to lose his patience (did I mention he’s a finance guy who hates wasting money?) and insisted I find a solution, pronto! That’s when I decided to throw out the old routine of doing “blind groceries” 1-2 times a month and to start a weekly plan. B E S T I D E A E V E R ! So I went to our budgeting app and divided our monthly budget into 4 (duh!) and got to work. Now I don’t know if you all have set a budget for groceries but if you have, you’ve probably run into the same problem I was having, I always went over budget. Well ever since I started this weekly planning I have not only been on budget but a lot of times under budget! This was a H U G E deal for me. Finance husband, remember?
G E T T I N G O R G A N I Z E D
Now I had tried meal planning a few times in the past 2 years and never stuck with it. So I decided to think back to those other times I had tried and failed and L E A R N from those mistakes (revolutionary, right?). What I discovered was that first off, this wasn’t going to work if I had to spend hours and hours each week planning and second, only planning weekday dinners wasn’t going to be enough. So I decided that Pinterest, who normally was the culprit in wasting time, was going to be my time saver. How could Pinterest help save time you ask? Well here’s how, I limited the use! Instead of browsing for hours every week to find the 7 perfect meals, I created a “recipe rotation board” of past favorite meals and decided that Pinterest would only be used to add 1-3 new recipes a week to mix in with the rotation of tried and true recipes. This simple “rule” has cut planning time to about 30 minutes a week, meaning more time for Netflix! Before moving on I’d like to point out something that may be obvious to some but wasn’t for me, don’t forget to plan for snacks! This was seriously one of my biggest problems. I would plan all the meals for the month (yikes!) but not buy enough or any snacks!
S T I C K T O T H E P L A N !
So what happens when you’re hungry and don’t have anything to snack on? You go to your favorite fast food place or convenience store and buy everything your heart desires, right? W R O N G ! I can say with confidence that this nasty little habit of ours not only costed us a lot $$$ but also a good 10-20lbs! Learn from my mistakes, plan for snacks and avoid the drive-thru! Trust me, your clothes and self esteem will thank you! Another issue I encountered was I N E V E R wanted to cook on the weekends. This probably stems back to how things were when I was growing up (sorry mom and dad!). Weekends were for eating out, always. Now I’m not saying to never go out to restaurants, what I’m saying is plan to cook on the weekend and if you do go out to eat, slide everything down a day. (I also highly recommend making a budget specifically for eating out to keep splurging to a minimum) So how do you get over the weekend laziness and start cooking? Simple, you save the recipes that you’re most looking forward to trying out or eating for the weekend. This may seem silly but if we’re being honest here, we all need a little motivation to get us going, for me this is what worked. Try out different things and see what works for you, maybe what works for you is the quickest meals so you have more time to relax and watch Netflix (I have a Netflix problem and I’m not ashamed to admit it) or whatever it is “normal” people do on the weekend.
Lastly, keep your plan written out and visible so you never lose track and forget what you’re supposed to be making! This brings us to the part I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for (probably not) the freebie! I have designed a weekly meal planner exclusively for the wonderful readers of Fit To Serve and it’s F R E E ! Simply click on the photo and save the full size version and print it out at home or a professional printer like Fed Ex Office.
I hope that this post will help you all in staying on track to a healthier you! Enjoy and happy planning!
Check out The Time-Warp Wife by clicking the photo below