I am new to meal planning and usually just "wing it". What is the best way to start?
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My favorite thing to do is sit down with a few of my favorite cookbooks, and a good idea of what I have in my pantry. Then I find (per week, sometimes I do 1, 2, or more weeks worth) 2-3 chicken recipes, 1 red meat recipe, and 2-3 vegetarian recipes and I plan for a day of leftovers per week. Then I plan for what I need for groceries, and voila...
I don't know that it's the best way but it's worked well for me :)
For me I use to go to the store daily or every other day and that got really expensive and this was before the cost of groceries went up. I then went to meal planning and just started doing it for a week at first (I only did it Mon-Fri starting out).
I sat down and went through my cook books and online recipes and picked out my favorites.
I do not really stick to days I just pick from the meals I have and out of those make what I feel like eating for dinner that night.
Then sit down and write out a grocery list, this includes everything that I need to make for the dinners, snacks, dairy, breakfast and lunch foods too.
It may be a little intimidating at first but so worth it. It saves money and gets you organized as well.
When I am drawing a blank on what else to do for dinners I ask my husband and son what they want.
I also usually when planning my meals for 2 weeks leave a couple nights open for leftover nights.
Welcome to the group :)
Welcome to the group,
I look to see what we have here, then what meals I can make out of this stuff proceeding to what I need to make a certain meal I will write a list of what I need and what I am making for the week , then start to think about next week. I watch the sell ads to see the best deal ; we shop 1 major purchase a month, then milk, bread and cheese weekly so if I need to pick something up I will. I usually let DD have 1 day to pick what she wants.
We also do meatless meals atleast 1 a week, 2 chicken, 2 beef, pork. breakfast for dinner is a hit here. I make sure it is different from what she has at school.
When I started I went through my whole pantry and made a computer sheet of all my supplies. Then, I was able to figure out meals with what I already had on hand.
Oh and WELCOME TO THE GROUP!!!
I've been meal planning for years but didn't know that is what it was called LOL. When I make my grocery list I write down my list of meals per day and on the back of the paper I have columns for meat, F/V (fruits, veggies), cans (but include boxes etc), Colds/Freezer, and Misc. When choosing dinners I ask everyone about there preferences and make the list accordingly. I try to alternate the starch and meats for the week and just add a veggie or so. So eg..
Sun is Steak, baked potatoes and corn on the cob. Monday might be a chicken broccoli alfredo, Tuesday may be Lentils, Wednesday may be Pork chops and mushroom spinach risotto, and Thursday will be leftovers or a salad with the leftover meat or ham cubes. Friday and Saturday are junk nights or whatever crazy thing I can make with the leftovers. We try to penny pinch as much as possible.
I just try my hardest to alternate meats and starch and definitely make a list that is organized so I can shop accordingly (and try to stick to it as much as possible). LOL, I think it will be much easier to plan when my kids are grown because DH and I are not picky and can eat leftovers for days. I can't imagine how much we will save in food then.
I first check to see what I have on hand that needs to be used. Then I check the food ads to see what is on sale. I go to the farmer's market first to see what vegetables I can find. then I write down what will go with the vegetables, depending on what's on sale. We eat a lot of fish and seafood, and usually have a meatless meal. Years ago, when I was first learning to do this, I would start with chicken, beef, turkey, pork, eggs, beans, pasta or rice (one for each day) and then build a meal around those. However you do it, planning, even for a few days at a time, will save you money and get rid of that last minute "What am I going to fix tonight?". Be flexible and try and see what works for you.
I go to the farmer's market once a week too we eat alot of vegetables and fruit here a meatless meal, a mexican meal, a chinese meal, chicken, beef, pork, seafood in a given week, this week only 3 days in school 2 of those days chicken fingers so, no chicken here this week.
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