Once upon a time, I saved all my receipts to figure out where we were spending money, and I was shocked at how much money we were spending on food.
I couldn’t believe how much two people were spending to feed themselves, it was insane. Don’t get me wrong, grocery prices are definitely going up, but there was no need to be pissing away as much money as we were by simply not being organized.
Let me explain.
Instead of making on grocery shopping trip a week, we were going to the store a few times a week to get ingredients to make recipes we decided to make earlier that day. I am sure you’ve done it too, let’s make _______ tonight! You then rummage through your pantry to realize you have 3 of the ingredients and then run to the store to grab what you need. Then repeat this almost daily.
What is wrong with this? We’re wasting so much time, looking through recipes everyday, getting to the grocery store numerous times, wandering around the store numerous times, waiting in line numerous times, getting home from the store multiple times, unpacking all my shit 4 or 5 times a week! Not to mention all the money, when I am feeding us like that I am not thinking about using ingredients we have, or making any kind of plan, plus I may or may not be guilty of buying a couple extra things, every time I am in the store.
So, what are we suppose to do??
It saves time, money, and mental space not having to think up new recipes everyday.
Step 1: Set aside one day a week to plan, shop, and prep – at my house this is Sunday.
Step 2: Figure out how many meals you are going to be responsible for over the next 7 days. Think about your plans, and how much time you are going to have (will some meals need to be leftovers?), what are you cravings, your mood, and the weather or season, and how much money you have for groceries.
Step 3: Make yourself a snazzy little chart on a piece of paper like so:
Quickly jot in your vague ideas such as: quick dinner, leftovers, packed lunch, big dinner, going out, etc
Then add it up: 3 leftover dinners, 5 packed lunches, 1 big dinner, etc
Step 1: Hit the books: Quest through your favourite recipes books, or Pinterest, or our friend Google and find your recipes for healthy meals.
*overlap ingredients to save you money and time, for example I know every morning I will have either a juice or a green smoothie for breakfast, because that’s how I roll. I will use those greens for my salads, and also try to find recipes that use greens in them too.
Step 2: Plan it out baby!
Make a new chart and fill it in with your recipes names (and page numbers if using books)
Here is my example:
|Breakfast||Juice||Juice||Green Smoothie||Juice||Green Smoothie||Yogurt and Granola||Eggs and Toast|
|Lunch||Soup + salad||Bean Chili||Leftover Chicken Wrap + salad||Chili + salad||Crackers, Cheese, Humus, Fermented Veg||Veggie Wrap + Soup||Veggie Wrap + Salad|
|Dinner||Curry + Brown Rice||Lemon Chicken + Brown Rice||Leftover Curry and rice||Leftover chicken and rice||Eating Out||Leftover Chili||Roast Dinner with Millet|
Post this bad boy on the fridge, great for anyone asking What’s for dinner?
Step 3: Grocery List: You’re almost there! All you need to do is go over your recipes you’ve chosen and make a list of everything you need to get for the week.
Bonus Pro Tips
Making a menu plan will save you so much time, money and mental space but cooking like a chef and prepping for your meals is genius! (Read more about weekly prepping here)
- cook grains in bulk: make a massive batch of brown rice, and re-heat it for a side with dinner, pack it for lunch, or use it for breakfast porridge (click here to see how I do that)
- make one soup a week: helps when you need to eat something quick, great to add to leftovers when you need to pack lunches
- make one blender salad dressing a week: super fast, perfect for a quick salad and to add to leftovers when you need to pack lunches
- make any meals ahead if you have time: in my example I would make the chili before hand, portion it out and freeze it.
- portion anything you make, when you store it: you can just pull out a single portion for lunch, or however many you need to feed for dinner. This also helps if you don’t finish it all, it will keep in the fridge.
- freeze leftovers: I am not the type of person that can eat one meal over and over until it’s gone. If you are like me, do the best you can and freeze the rest. I promise in a few weeks that frozen dinner will look amazing again
That was a big one, let’s go over that one more time.
- set one day aside to make a meal plan, get your groceries, and prep for the week
- make a rough outline of what kind of meals you need and when
- find recipes overlapping ingredients
- write out plan with recipe names and page numbers. Post on the fridge.
- make grocery shopping list of everything you need for the week, based from your recipes
- make one soup, salad dressing, and at least one freezer meal
- portion all leftovers and send them to the freezer, if you’re not using
Take action today and schedule time in your planner to create your menu plan, get groceries and prep, before your week begins. I love Sunday for this.
Do you know someone who complains about grocery bills, or is famous for saying I don’t know what to make for dinner? Share this article with them today!