I’ve been trying to do meal planning since we got married (7 years almost) and I can never make it work for US. Add in a toddler with sensory issues… I felt pretty hopeless.
This month has brought a lot of changes for us, and one of those is what and how we eat. With the mindset of “Intentional”, we began looking for ways to make it WORK FOR US.
The first thing that REALLY helped was checking out Your Ideal Form and signing up for their FREE recipes and Tips for Meal Prep.
Then we decided what WOULD and would NOT work for us.
Leftovers don’t happen in our house. They just die, slowly and sadly. So, we decided on meals that can be repurposed on Day 2 or frozen for a later time. (somehow it feels less like leftovers if I pull it out of the freezer the following week and cook it in the oven)
“Take chewable bites” is my new mantra when it comes to tackling things I want to do at work (and in life). So we decided for our trial run to only prep for 2 weeks. We chose 3 meals that would have enough for 2 meals each and the leftovers could be frozen or repurposed (ex: the beef I am making tonight can be made into sandwiches tomorrow or frozen).
Since we choose to stick with one vehicle (#SummerOfSneakers) we decided to check out some Grocery Delivery options. This worked extremely well this time around because it was much easier for me to see exactly what I was getting and ensuring that each item had a purpose in a meal for the next week or so. No random add-ons or sale items that rot or sit in the cupboard forever. I was also able to make my list and then come back and add things throughout the day, then I submitted it when I felt I had remembered everything (ex: Toilet paper, dish soap, and portion bags) It also helped me see a realistic dollar amount as I shopped, so I knew I wasn’t blowing the budget out of the water. Not to mention it was kind of nice to not have to search the aisles in the middle of the night with a toddler in tow 🙂
While there were several options for Grocery Delivery in our area, I chose Amazon Fresh. We already have a Prime Membership, so it is only an additional $14.99 a month and we received the first month FREE (whereas Wal-Mart was a $9.99 fee per delivery).
I chose my delivery window and they left them outside the door (I couldn’t tell if they knocked, between the puppy and the toddler running around)
Everything arrived FRESH and COLD. I was able to start some prep right away, but I saved most of it until Kiddo had gotten on the bus for PPCD.
I started dinner in the Crock Pot (by the way – all three recipes I chose are cooked in the crockpot and I love using my crockpot to reheat those frozen leftovers) and then began to wash, chop, and portion out veggies. I didn’t buy fruit this way because it was much more expensive. I will buy fruit and milk as needed when it is on sale. I used the portion bags and containers (that I was also able to buy on-line grocery shopping) to make grab-n-go snacks.
We live in a “get it quick” society. If I am going to make eating healthy work for us, fruits and veggies cannot be in a bag needing to be prepped. So I did all that work today and we have easy access to healthy options all week.
I made sure to use snack size bags, the less in each bag the more likely I am to grab a variety and actually finish it without wasting any.
The last thing I did was to combine ingredients for the second recipe and place them in a ziplock bag in the freezer (putting the non-cold items in a special cupboard) The third recipe was all already frozen or pantry items, so no prep is needed there until the morning of. Tomorrow I will prep the salads for lunches (I forgot to get the bowls and dressing at work) I choose a simple chicken ceasar salad using the frozen grilled chicken strips for less work.
A few tips I learned along the way:
- Plan recipes you know you like or will want to eat
- Base your shopping on those recipes and one or two lunches that you can prep in bulk and snacks that will be easy to grab.
- Shop On-line
- Plan a prep time that you will not be interrupted by the kids
- Do the dishes and take out the trash the night before (you will have enough of both those things after all this is done)
- Invest in a good knife and cutting board (and crockpot)
- Have portioning bags/containers and gallon size freezer bags
- Plan your Work, Work you Plan
- If it doesn’t work, change one thing
I am really excited to taste these recipes and to see if it works out as amazing as I think it is going to *cross fingers*