How meal planning can help both your sanity AND your wallet!

Do you ever find yourself coming home after a long day and staring blankly into the refrigerator? It’s ok, we’ve all been there. What’s your “go-to” in this situation? Order a pizza? Chinese? Fast Food? Quick grocery store trip? Almost anything other than figuring out what you’ve got that you can put a meal together with, right? Not having a plan and not having simple ingredients needed for a quick and easy meal can get expensive. Let’s take my family of 4 for example… we order pizza, easily $30; Chinese, $40; fast food, $30. Now even if we don’t eat out, running to the grocery store for just a few items here and there, adds up! Taking the time to sit down and plan out meals for the week ahead not only reduces the stress of “Mom… I’m hungry, what’s for dinner?!”, but it can be much more cost-effective. 

Yesterday as I sat at my desk, regretting the carb-loaded pizza I had eaten the night before… I decided it was time to get back to planning. Within 20 minutes I had planned out meals for the week and put together a quick shopping list. $100 later at the grocery store on my way home, I not only had ingredients for dinners but ingredients for a “make ahead” breakfast casserole that we could cut up and re-heat for quick breakfasts and healthy snacks to get us through the day. By making just one trip to the grocery store with specific meals in mind, I was able to create a shopping list that allowed me to buy bulk packages of several items that could be split up between different meals.   $100… for an entire week’s worth of meals! 

Here’s how my weekly plan looks… 

For breakfast, we’ve got a loaded veggie breakfast casserole or protein powder to mix with our unsweetened almond coconut milk. For snacks we’ve got hard-boiled eggs, cucumbers, peppers, snap peas, and baby carrots (all items that were bought in bulk to spread out between meals listed above as well!) And last but not least, lunch can be leftovers from dinner the night before or a protein shake!

For Dinners:

Monday- the carb-loaded pizza that inspired me to get back on track;

Tuesday- chicken Fajita bake;

Wednesday- grilled pork tenderloin and salad;

Thursday- BBQ chicken chopped salad;

Friday- chicken cashew & vegetable stir fry;

Saturday- chicken bacon Caesar casserole;

Sunday- grilled tri-tip and grilled veggies

What does your meal prep look like?