Meal Planning 101

Meal Planning – who does it??
 
I started meal planning in 2013 because every evening my husband and I would have the same conversation:
 
“What do you want for dinner?”
“Well, what do we have?”
 
Eventually we’d find a recipe, open the fridge, scan, and realize we didn’t have the necessary ingredients. We were going to the grocery store multiple times a week, and then we’d end up shopping while hungry, which caused us to buy snacks we didn’t need and snacking while making dinner. 
 
The meals we made when we first started meal planning and the meals we make now are completely different. Back then, our meals were very carb heavy, rice, pasta, and cheese almost daily. Vegetables were not only minimal, but there also wasn’t much variety. Today, our meals (especially during the summer) are very colorful since I am plan based on what we receive each week in our CSA.
 
We pickup our CSA every Tuesday, and before putting away the produce, I sit down with my notebook, and a couple recipe books. At the top, I write all the veggies we either received in our CSA or purchased as staples. That’s where the creativity comes in! Our meals typically don’t consist of pasta, bread, or rice anymore. When we do add heavier carbohydrates to our meals, it’s either brown rice or quinoa, as well as legumes, typically a few times per week.
 
I may not stick to my list, for example, if I really want Friday’s meal on Wednesday, I’ll live dangerously (ha!) and make it on Wednesday. Meal planning also helps us from eating out too much. I write down any events or gatherings we’re planning for the week so I know if I should buy extra or if I get the night off!  
 
The goal is to have no wasted food each week. Last year was our first year having a CSA and I was meal planning on Sundays – which didn’t make sense because I would end up going to the grocery store on Sunday and buying what I needed then getting extra on Tuesdays! This year I’ve been doing a lot better – so far, we’re only a month in. As I select our meals for the week, I write any missing ingredients on the bottom.
 
Here’s to spending less on groceries, and eating locally grown, organic food!