11.18.14Mastering the Meal-Plan

If you can remember all the way back to my New Year’s goals, I had mentioned that I wanted to get organized with our meal-planning and grocery shopping. Well, it took me until mid-August to get there, but I’ve finally found a system that works for me (and for Rob)! Better late than never, right?

meal planning background

My system is actually pretty simple, it just requires some time to plan ahead. To start, I listed out every dish I know how to make and that I know we both really enjoy – about 20 meals. I keep that list at the bottom of my template for easy access (and try to add to it with new recipes every few weeks!). Every weekend, I fill in the top of my template for lunches and dinners for each day. (It’s easiest for me to set up a Monday through Sunday meal plan.)

I start by writing in things that are already on the calendar during meal slots (Bible Study, double date, potluck dinner, Darden events, etc.). Second, I think about what ingredients I already have in the house and insert meals that require those items in the Monday/Tuesday range. Then I consider ease of preparation and put those meals in the lunch time slots. (Side note: Rob and I have very flexible lunch schedules and meet back at our apartment to make lunch together every day. We take advantage of that time together while we can!) Then I fill in from there! Some things are becoming tradition, like Friday Night Meatballs (more on that later!) or homemade pizza on Sunday nights.

After I have my meals filled in, I make my grocery list and try to get to the store on Monday or Tuesday night after work (and usually another trip later in the week, let’s be real). I also forward the meal plan to Rob in an email so he knows what to expect and how he can tag-team with me each day. (He tackles the meat cutting for most of our meals, for which I am extremely thankful!)

This system has helped us tremendously. We eat out far less and, in turn, eat much healthier (saving money and our health!). One of our favorite things to do together since our dating years is to cook together, and we get to do that quite a bit during this phase of life. As much as this helps for planning and health purposes, it’s not to say we don’t occasionally spring for a last-minute date night out on a Wednesday or meet up with friends instead. It’s a plan, but it’s flexible. And it works for us!

How do you meal-plan? It feels great to finally get in a groove!

If you’re still looking for ways to organize your meals, click here for the downloadable template that helps me so much. Also — if you’re looking for simple, healthy meals to incorporate into your routine, stay tuned!

 Vegetable image

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