February 22, 2009

Meal Planning Part 3

We are in the final stretch. This last part is a super time and money saver - even if you are not looking to save money - you will.

You have your calendars filled in right? Complete with sides? GOOD!

Now grab that little rotation spreadsheet (4 or 8 weeks) and your notebook again. This time it would helpful to have any recipes near by that you may need. For my 8 week meals I keep recipes that I use in a binder, in a drawer in my kitchen so I don't have to hunt down a cook book or recipe card.

In your notebook label one Page STAPLES and the next pages Week 1, Week 2 and so on.

Take a deep breath, and another - OK you better take one more.

Now. Start with your staples page. Start writing all your needs for the rotation that you can purchase ahead of time that wont spoil, bread crumbs - spaghetti sauce, dressing, butter, pasta, taco shells, spices, oils, jellies etc. Write them down and a quantity for the rotation (Spaghetti Sauce - 8). You can also write the meat you need for the rotation on this list as that can be frozen!

Once you have all the staples done - move on to your weeks. Go to week one and write what you have to buy fresh that week; lettuce, fruit, eggs, dairy etc.(do this for each week) you should find that your week lists are rather short.

DO NOT INCLUDE YOU FAMILY STANDARDS ON THESE LISTS (milk, bread etc) you will add those later.

Now you have 1 long list and 4 to 8 short ones right?

SO here is what you do...On the first shopping day of each 8 week rotation you will shop from your staples list (IN MY CASE THIS INCLUDES MEAT)AND your Week one list. SO this is a "big" shopping trip.

At our house we buy our meat from the meat market near by - 8 weeks at a time - except our chicken comes from Costco. So meats are not on my grocery lists but a separate list.

With week one and the BIG SHOP out of the way - all you do now is look at the fridge (where you hung your calendars)to see what you're eating – Sticky note in hand – I open the pantry and the fridge make sure I have what I need and write down the fresh stuff needed for the week – Add the essentials (milk, OJ, Bread, lunch meat) and I am done. I can fit the list on a sticky note and I am in and out of the store in 20 minutes for 7 weeks.

The bonus in all this? Other than the time saver for rest of your life (ha ha) with your meals posted -there is never any question what is for dinner - everyone can look at the fridge and see it for themselves.

REMEMBER - you can change it anytime if parts don't work well for you, if meals get boring you can add or delete - you can move around scrap night or use it as Out night. YOU HAVE TOTAL CONTROL - the weeks leave room for flexibility. If you take out chicken and don't want to make it tonight sub in scrap night or look at another chicken meal for the week and trade them. If you go out an extra night or don't cook - hold it over to the next week (sub it on the calendar so you don't forget you don't have to buy that) etc etc etc

I hope all of this made some sense? I am not sure how well it reads but I know it works for me. SO GOOD LUCK and email me anytime if you have a question or comment!

Thanks for reading.


BrandyEllen said...

I could not do meal planning..kudos to you! Hope it all works out fantastic for you!


Bonnie said...

Con's been sick so I'm behind but I plan to go back and read it all again. I am almost finished organizing my recipes in a book..then I can start from your part 1. Thanks again!