Save Time and Money with a Meal Plan

“There’s nothing to EAT!”

Despite a stocked pantry or fridge, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the challenge of making healthy and delicious meals.

During stressful periods distractions can pull us away from what is truly important, like good nutrition.  Healthy eating requires a plan.  Without a plan and without determination to stay focused you might find yourself shouting into the fridge, “There’s nothing to EAT!”

One of my favorite ways to de-stress is to spend time in my kitchen prepping and cooking healthy, delicious and nutritious meals.  Over the years I’ve learned how to keep mealtime stress free and that is by having a plan.

Do you dread meal time?

After eating processed foods does your body tell you it would prefer something healthier?

Has take-out gotten out-of-hand?

These days I live my ideal life by focusing on these 6 focus areas (despite the Coronavirus quarantine).

  1.  Faith
  2. Family/Friends (Relationships)
  3. Finances
  4. Fitness/Health/Wellness
  5. Fun
  6. Freedoms

In this blog post I’ll share with you, one of my systems so you can have healthy meals, without the stress.

Your Health

Stress can be helpful in a crisis, but over time stress can lead to serious health issues.

One of the ways we can help our bodies fight the negative effects of stress is by eating healthy food, which typically requires having a plan.

The first step is using “The List.”

The List

For years I’ve kept a grocery list going.  It’s posted in the kitchen and as soon as I realize I’m running low on an item, I add it to the list.

When I got married, I had my husband use the list to request the food he wanted in the house.

As my son got older and could write, he started using the list too!

When one of them asks me if I got something they wanted, I just ask them if they had it on “The List.”

List and Menu

The Menu

Meal planning is beneficial because it will save you time and money, not to mention, your sanity.

My goal is to make at least one new recipe every week.  I get inspiration by looking through my cookbooks and magazines.  Online, I go to allrecipes.com and Pinterest.

At home I take two very important actions.  One, helps save my sanity.  I ask my husband and son what they’d like me to make in the upcoming week or so.  The other thing I do saves money.  I consider what I have on hand in the fridge, freezer and pantry to come up with meals that use those ingredients.

For each meal I consider what we need and add it to “The List.”

Breakfast

Typically breakfasts in our house involve eggs, cereal or protein shakes.  We keep it simple.

Lunch

My son makes his own lunches. Lunch meat, an apple or pear, something crunchy and a water.  When we have pizza left over from the night before, he’ll take that the next day.  Since I know what he eats, I always make sure his lunch items are on “The List.”

I generally eat salads for lunch.  Because I have lots of veggies in the house, making a salad is easy.

My husband, well…he likes Taco Bell.  A lot.  He goes to TB most days of the week for his lunch.

Dinner

Dinner is the meal I really plan for because after working all day, it’s just easier to know what I’m going to make.  Each morning I look at “The Menu.”  If I need to pull something from the freezer, I do.  It’s thawed and ready to use by dinner.

Cook once, eat twice, or three times is a concept I love!  A crockpot chicken can become 3 meals:  dinner one night, a salad ingredient the next day, and soup later in the week.

Snacks

Snacks and drinks are another thing to remember to add to “The List”.

Speaking of snacking…I’ve learned that I can get my guys to eat more veggies simply by placing them on the counter while I’m cooking dinner.  If the veggies are available, they don’t go for crackers and chips.

Flexibility

Pizza.  Yum!  There are times when I haven’t had time to cook or simply don’t feel like it.  Usually it’s pizza that’s the solution.  It’s so nice to have food delivered to the front door-ready to eat!

We keep our menu fairly flexible for times when we want pizza, choose to go out to dinner or something unexpected comes up.

In the summer I keep extra burgers and dogs in the freezer for impromptu poolside entertaining.

When not under quarantine, my husband enjoys having lunch on Sundays at our local Eagles club.  It’s become our regular Sunday “thing.”  Other than that, we eat at home more times than not.

I haven’t used a meal delivery service, because I really enjoy the process from planning, prepping, cooking and eating.  Also, I try to minimize waste as much as possible and the idea of creating more waste or increasing the need for recycling isn’t appealing to me.  However, my friends who use those services love them.

Truth…the part I don’t actually embrace about cooking is grocery shopping.

 Shop

Let me just say…I love using Shipt.  It’s a huge time saver and it keeps me accountable.  I only end up buying the items I ordered.  By delegating this task we buy less junk food and make no impulse purchases.  By having someone else shop for me it saves me time to do things I want to do.

Prep 

There are two reasons I prep my veggies ahead of time.

  1. Money.  Waste not, want not.  I hate throwing food away.  When I take the time to prep, less food goes to waste.
  2. Time.  When it’s time to make dinner, the veggies and ingredients for the main dish are ready to cook or add to the recipe.

Cook and Enjoy!

Melissa Myers,CFP® is passionate about helping women discover their own sunkissed and blessed life.  Myers is an author, blogger, entrepreneur, lifestyle coach, and financial planner.   Her life changed when she committed to eliminating debt, created a plan to master her money, and developed a practice of expressing gratitude for the abundance in her life.  You too, can shift your mindset and find your prosperity.  Contact Melissa at support@askmelissamyers.com.