Friday, March 27, 2009

March Meal Planning

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am experimenting with the idea of meal planning for an entire month to simplify my meal preparation and to (hopefully) save money. I looked at having a different meal every night for the month but I found that repeating a two week menu kept things more simple and more frugal. The cost of groceries are going to be a little front loaded - you will do the one month grocery shop and the week one perishables in week one but then groceries will be much less expensive as you will just be shopping for the weekly perishables.

I decided to plan for all three meals and two snacks for the entire month. I though that this would be a better capture of how much an entire month's groceries will cost and more importantly it will keep us out of the grocery store during the week. Not only will this be a time saver but it should be a money saver as well. Everyone knows that when you head into the grocery store to pick up something quick, you end up spending $50 on a bunch of stuff you didn't know you needed! This plan will avoid that exact scenario.

I decided to plan for 28 breakfasts, 28 lunches, 56 snack (two snacks a day) and 24 dinners. Why only 24 dinners? Well I think inevitably there will be leftovers or we will feel like having takeout or we will have dinner with relatives or we feel like having red meat or something decadent.

I have a few suggestions for making this a much easier month.

1. Look over the meal plan and get rid of anything you think you won't like. I know the recipes are not yet attached but the meal names should give you some indication if it contains something you hate.

2. Look over the shopping lists before you shop and shop your cupboard. We often forget if we have a certain ingredient at home and end up buying it to be safe only to discover we actually have a 2 kg bag of it in out pantry. Avoid this by taking a minute to shop your own supplies.

3. If there is an ingredient on the grocery list that you hate, leave a comment and I will suggest an alternative.

4. Clean out your pantry, fridge and freezer before shopping. Get rid of the stuff that has been floating around for months so that you have a place to put all of your new groceries. Remember that if you have anything that has not been opened and is non-perishable you can bring it with you to donate to the foodbank.

5. If you double a recipe the first time you make it and freeze it, you will cut down on how many meals you need to make in the second two weeks.

I'll post the menu, the nutritional guidelines I was following and the components of the complete meal in separate posts so you can quick reference it. I'll post the tutorials and recipes as I cook them. I hope you like the meals and I hope this menu planning helps you out!

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