Monday, May 21, 2012

Meal Planning-we're getting low!

Since C and I will be moving in approximately 1.5 weeks to our interim housing (aka, with our parents), I'm trying to use up the food in the pantry and freezer.  The moving company won't move food items and I wouldn't want them in storage anyways.  The menu until we move is based on getting rid of what we have while still maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.  My trip the grocery store yesterday was the basics: milk, eggs, fresh fruit and veggies, lunch meat.

Sunday: Zuppa Toscano Soup and fresh bread (lunch)
Sandwiches and long grain fried rice loaded with veggies (dinner)
Monday: C has a school function and I'm running errands but something meatless and easy
Tuesday: Parmesan lemon tilapia and sauteed green beans with almonds
Wednesday: Grilled chicken and Asian coleslaw
Thursday: C has class and I'm getting my haircut
Friday: Grilled steak and potatoes

I've been talking a lot about the way we plan meals and the why behind it so I thought I would share!

Method (easy):
1. Check out pantry/fridge/freezer
2. Select menu (I use cookbooks, blogs, magazines for inspiration)
3. Grocery shop

I plan our meals out for the week for a couple of reasons:
1. We (like most people) are busy.  If I had to come home and decide what we were having and defrost meat/have lots of prep work I'm sure we would go out to dinner a lot more.
2. Saving money.  By planning before shopping, I'm only buying the ingredients that we need and will use.  We also save by not having any last-minute unexpected restaurant nights out (well usually, there are exceptions to every rule).  That being said, we do usually have 1 day a week going out to dinner or ordering pizza or takeout.  Especially with all the traveling we've been doing for the house hunt.
3. Control over what we eat.  I like to know what we are eating and control the fat and salt content.
4. Variety.  If I don't plan a menu, then we have a lot of the same thing (example: grilled chicken and asparagus).  By planning ahead, I can investigate new recipes and mix things up so we don't get bored.
5. Left overs. C and I take food for lunch most days of the week.  I'm usually on the go, so my lunches consist of a protein or granola bar, apple and carrot sticks or some sort of salad.  C has access to a microwave at school so he can take left overs and heat them up (refer to #2, saving money and #3 control over what we eat)
6. I like to cook (obviously).  Since I like to cook and don't mind spending time in the kitchen, it's not an issue.  We do have a dinner OR dishes rule in our house; if you make dinner then the other person does the dishes.

Do you meal plan?  Why or why not?

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