Turbo Tax

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How to Meal Plan

Tuesday's Tips Button

My friend Jean asked me to explain how I plan my meals, that made me realize others might benefit.  Therefore this post was born!  

When I plan my meals I sit down with my favorite cookbooks and a spiral bound notebook.  I make six categories and place four meals into each.

Examples of Categories:
  • Tomato Saucey Meals - pizza, lasagna, spaghetti, canvanti 
  • Soup - During the winter this is a favorite 
  • Salad - This is a summery one for us 
  • Mexican Food 
  • Chicken Dishes 
  • Freezer Meals - Ones completely done and ready to go for busy days 
  • Sandwhiches 
  • Crockpot Meals
As you can see, this list is endless, it has as many categories as you like.  I'll just make a list in my notebook, nothing fancy, but it helps me to plan it out.

Make a list of items needed
While I'm finding my recipes to fill the categories, I skim the recipe right away to see if I have all the ingredients.  If I do, great, I go on.  Otherwise, I make a list of what I still need.  I try to buy the  non-perishables right away so that I can have the ingredients in stock for when I want to make the meal.  Usually perishables needed are basics that I usually have anyway, such as lettuce, carrots, onions, etc.  If it's something more unusual such as an avocado, I'll make a note of it on my list.

Be Prepared!

Lately, I've even taken it a step further and looked to see what needs to be done with each of those meals.  If I need fried hamburger, I try to fry it and have it ready for later that month when I make that meal.  If I'm making marinated chicken, I freeze the chicken in the marinade so it marinates as it thaws, killing two birds with one stone.  I try to chop my vegies for the coming week.  It helps save extra steps on meal night!

Put your Meal Plan together

So now I have 6 categories filled with 4 ideas each.  Hmmm... that sounds like 4 weeks of meals, six night a week!  Exactly what it's meant to be!  So when I go to plan my week, I try to pick one meal from each category.  The hard work is already done, now it's just pulling it all together.

Let's hear from you!

How do you meal plan?  Or do you have a question you'd like me to explain?  Please leave a comment I'd love to hear from all of you!

If you're a blogger I'd love you to link a tip for the home, family, or money management.  Please link directly to your post so others can easily find your tip and put a link back here on your blog. 

Meal Planning which make my life easier Works For Me and is a much Finer Thing!!!  Here's another slip for the Tip Jar!  Also check out Thrifty Tip Tuesday.  This was also a 30 minute post linked at Steady Mom.


Genesa said...

Great idea Lori! Makes it very easy.

Jessica said...

Thanks for posting this! It's neat to "look into" other people's kitchens and see how they do things!

Melissa said...

Your meal-planning method is a little different from mine, but fairly similar. I might adopt some of your ideas. Thanks for sharing!

Lori @ Couponomic Stimulus Package said...

Thanks ladies! Sometimes, just hearing how others do things give us ideas on how to improve ourselves.

Kim & Dave said...

This has become somewhat of a challenge for me-as I have just gotten the Celiac diagnosis. I am slowly venturing back into more organized meal planning-a necesity when you are dealing with dietary changes!

Thanks for the reminder of how beneficial planning can be!

Jamie @ I Am A Money Magnet said...

This sounds great Lori! I'm always looking for ideas when it comes to meal planning!:) Thanks for linking to Thrifty Tip Tuesday!

Angela of Blog Mommas said...

My husband is the meal planner in our family. He doesn’t write anything down. He just puts it all in his head and remembers what to buy when he does the grocery shopping. I don’t like grocery shopping at all. It’s probably better that he does it because I would spend beau coup bucks if left to my own devices.

Lori @ Couponomic Stimulus Package said...

Wow Angela that would be awesome to have my hubby do it all! If I try to keep it in my mind, we don't eat;) I have a terrible memory, I even have to check my meal plans every night or I forget what I need to get out for the next day!

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