Ryan and I had fallen off the "eat like normal people train" after moving. I know, that was in March- about time we get back on. We blame being busy and so many projects, but truth is, we both can be pretty darn lazy. What whipped us back to shape was our food bill. We looked at what we'd been spending eating out, and it was getting a bit nuts. True, sometimes picking up Chipotle is cheaper then buying ingredients for a meal, but sometimes it is more.
And, lucky for us, simple meals work just fine. We aren't big foodies, and consider mac and cheese + tomatoes on top a meal. So that helps wrangle the food costs down low. Also, shopping at Trader Joe's is a huge help. Their stuff is generally cheap. And oh-so-tasty.
I also HATE grocery shopping. I hate it. I would rather clean the house for three hours then run to the grocery store for 10 minutes. I don't know what it is. But, I think it stems from when you go to start a meal, and realize you forgot cilantro. That is the worst.
So in the interest of lessening our food costs, and minimizing the grocery trips, we decided to meal plan. Not a novel idea, and not a new concept for us, but we now have a organized way to do it- and it makes me happy!
I found this great menu + shopping list free downloadable PDF from The Project Girl. I liked the one that just had the meals per day, not per B, L, D.
So I printed it out, and Ryan and I planned for last week. We went to TJ's on Sunday night with our list- and left with a $60-ish grocery bill. [It would have been lower if I hadn't splurged on some dog treats!] With that, we had breakfast for the whole week (usually cereal and yogurt + fruit), fruit, vegetables, snacks and new meals for about three nights. We usually only plan three home cooked meals a week. I know, week is 7 days, how does that work out? Well, depending on the week, we may have plans with friends or dinner at the in-laws. We also eat leftovers. Most meals make way more then 2 servings, so we will eat those a few days later. We find if we plan on more, we usually end up throwing out old food. And I hate that.
We are happy to report it worked wonders last week. It made making dinner so much easier not having to run to the store, and made shopping a breeze last Sunday. I did find the printable wasn't 100% how I'd like it, so I might create my own here soon, but I'd thought I'd share our fun new tool. Happy menu planning!