How to meal plan and save some cash

Few questions are as unwelcome or unanswerable (at least in my house) as “What's for dinner?” Every few months, I make futile attempts to meal plan or grocery shop smarter. I spread out cookbooks, I write down recipes, I make shopping lists, and then everything disappears (it seems) and I am back to my usual chaotic “It's 4:45 and what are we going to eat again?!”

In these moments, I am much more likely to order pizza or stop by for a supermarket rotisserie chicken. Not only are these choices probably not as healthy as what we could make at home, but they are also more expensive. And at the moment, we need to cut our eating out/convenience food spending as much as possible.

I am no domestic diva, as you have already discovered. But there are plenty of people of who are. And some of them don't even require googling. Take my mother-in-law, for example. She raised eight children on a tight budget, and I think she came up with a genius idea. Listen to this: She served the same seven meals every week. For instance, Monday was always spaghetti night, Tuesday was always chicken potpie, and so on. It meant her shopping list was the same every single week. Of course, it also means that my husband was burned out on repetition, so we definitely can't adopt the same policy in our house. But I do think it's a great idea.

Meal planning options

1. Emergency meals. This is the only kind of meal planning I have done successfully. And it's not really meal planning at all, but more of a quick, one-time fix to prevent ordering pizza. Basically, post 5-10 meals inside a cupboard door that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less (I say 30 minutes because that's how long a round trip to pick up prepared food would take in my neck of the woods). These meals should be simple and be composed of items that are shelf-stable or produce that lasts longer like carrots, onions, or frozen vegetables. In addition, always make sure you have that certain list of shelf-stable items present in your pantry. When you feel rushed or overwhelmed, check out the list.

Since we buy half a beef at a time, we always have plenty of ground beef in our freezer. I can quickly thaw ground beef, so it can be part of several of our staple meals. My kids actually prefer casseroles, one-dish skillets, and soups to slabs of meat (which is what my farmer husband prefers), so those meals make up most of our emergency meals. Never underestimate what you can create with a can of beans, diced tomatoes, pasta, or spaghetti sauce.

One of my favorite emergency meals relies on the same basic ingredients. However, by switching up the spices, cheese, and bean type, you can make the meal Mexican- or Italian-style. It's different enough that it satisfies my husband's need for variety.

Other emergency meal examples include spaghetti or other types of pasta, soups, and breakfast foods like eggs, pancakes, waffles, and baked oatmeal.

2. Independent menu planning. This is where I fail every time I try, but other people do this with success and claim it has revolutionized their life and their food budget.

Some people use Google calendar for this, others use spreadsheets (find a free template at the bottom of this Unclutterer post), and some people just create a paper grid and fill in the meals. However you do it, highlight the winning recipes and get rid of the duds so you don't repeat the meals no one likes.

What I've heard is that most of us repeat the same 21 meals most of the time. Picking out your standard meals, maybe supplemented with one or two new recipes a month, sounds really easy. Creating a systematic way of doing this is where I fail. But here are some tips to help you:

  • Always menu plan at the same time every week (if planning weekly).
  • Create a generic shopping list with items that you get every time you shop (milk, bananas, etc.) and fill in the rest of the shopping list based on your meal plan.
  • If it works for you, create a basic framework of meals. For instance, Meatless Mondays, Chicken Tuesdays, Pasta Wednesdays, Slow Cooker Thursdays, and Clean-Out-The-Fridge-Fridays. Then it narrows down which type of meal you need to cook.
  • On busy nights, plan for quick meals.
  • Cook once, eat twice. For instance, plan for Roasted chicken on Tuesday and then chop the leftover chicken up and give it new life in Chicken Fettucine on Wednesday.
  • Maybe you want to meal plan based on the food you need to use up. If so, I use www.allrecipes.com because I can put in an ingredient I want to use up (like cilantro) and find recipes that include that ingredient.
  • Mark off the days that you won't be home. This is a no-brainer, but I think this is one of my main problems: We don't need all the meals I plan. One solution is to only plan for 4 to 5 dinners a week to allow for other plans that may pop up unexpectedly or lots of food leftovers.

3. Paid subscription services. Google “menu planning” and you will find paid subscription services that vary in their scope (although it seems like the pricing is fairly similar between the different companies).

Emeals and $5 Meal Plan are examples. You can pick from many types of meal plans (paleo, slow cooker, clean eating, etc.) and they will give you recipes, meal plans and shopping lists for at least $5 per month. Plan to eat is another one. In this case, you put in your own recipes (or use other members' recipes). By dragging and dropping the specific recipes you want, your menu plan and shopping list are then created. It is normally $4.95/month, but they will run a Black Friday sale for 50% off a yearly subscription, starting November 28.

Do you have any meal planning tips to share?

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FI Pilgrim
FI Pilgrim
6 years ago

My wife an I talk about this frequently. She loves to meal plan but doesn’t always get around to it. I love eating meals that she’s planned for, but when I hear “um.. I’ll have to see what’s in the fridge” at 5:30 in the afternoon I want to go out to dinner pronto.

Saving money in this area is easy for us if we’ve made a meal plan, and posting it on the fridge for the entire week ahead make it easy to look forward to!

Money Saving
Money Saving
6 years ago

These are great tips. One awesome thing that helps us is that my wife’s favorite thing to eat is baked potatoes. I can fix them with ~2 mins prep time and about 10 mins of microwave time.

Ask you SO – there could be meals they really enjoy that are quick, “emergency” type things to fix in a crunch.

Rose
Rose
6 years ago

I plan the meals on Saturday for the following week. I look at the grocery store ads and go to no more than two stores. I found that I routinely save about $25-$30 per week at least by doing this. Plus I have the added benefit of controlling my weight better. My kids are required to make a meal each week (they are teenagers) so it relieves one task from this busy Mom.

Kay
Kay
6 years ago

I plan meals for the week (and sometimes more) and make my grocery list in about 30 minutes each week. Here are some tips that work for me: – My husband and I use Google Calendars to keep track of our schedules, important dates, etc. I created a new calendar called “Dinners” and just jot down the main course in each date. The default setting makes it an “all day” event, but that doesn’t matter — what matters is that it’s easy, I can drag and drop to rearrange them, my husband can always see what he has to look… Read more »

Brian@ Debt Discipline
[email protected] Debt Discipline
6 years ago

I like the same 7 meals each week. It takes the guess work out of it and makes shopping easier. Keeping the quick meals 30 mins or less on hand, our staple is taco’s, is key to avoiding ordering out and spending that $25-30.

Hoping to Adopt
Hoping to Adopt
6 years ago

I like to cook up a few pounds of ground beef at one time, and then freeze it in meal-sized portions. For taco meat, I like to mix the ground beef with beans or refried beans, then add the seasoning. On a busy week night, you just have to heat up the meat and pull the taco fixings out of the fridge.

Sam
Sam
6 years ago

I suck at meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. Mr. Sam does more grocery shopping and cooking than I do, but he is sporadic. As a result, we order in and eat out a lot. I’d really like to do better on this front, if I could cook even a couple of meals per week that would be an improvement. I’d like to make this a 2014 non monetary goal.

Priswell
Priswell
6 years ago
Reply to  Sam

Start with the cooking. You can’t meal plan or be a ninja shopper until you have some basic meals you can do well.

Start with one thing that you’d really love to know how to cook, and add one meal at a time until you know how to do 5 meals well so that you have midweek meals covered.

Renee s
Renee s
6 years ago
Reply to  Priswell

Good suggestion–I am similar to Sam. I need to just start simple! Thank you 🙂

Jessica
Jessica
6 years ago

The thing I do that really helps is to write the meals on a chalkboard in the kitchen with the date they will be cooked. Then, each week, I take a picture of the chalkboard and put these pictures in a special folder on my phone. That way, if I’m looking for dinner ideas, I can easily flip through and see what I made. Now that I’ve got about a dozen solid dishes under my belt, I plan the meals Saturday (with a quick flip through my pictures/some websites/cookbooks), hit the farmers market & grocery store Sunday morning, and then… Read more »

snarkfinance
snarkfinance
6 years ago

Man oh man do my wife and I struggle with this… we try to save money on food, but end up eating the same things week after week mostly as a result of our attempts to save money. I have tried recipes off Early Retirement Extreme type sites and forums, and they bear more a resemblance to a hamster’s diet than something a human would eat. Perhaps I will try the paid subscription service…

Renee s
Renee s
6 years ago
Reply to  snarkfinance

Snark–I tried a subscription service and although the meals sounded good and the service made the recipes look easy…I still didn’t do any of them, haha. Maybe that’s my own laziness? That could be. Maybe you will do better! Good luck 🙂

ONE EC
ONE EC
6 years ago

One twist I have done on meal planning is check a cookbook out of the library and work my way through it, there are tons of family meals, dinner in 30 minutes, 1 bag of groceries books. They will have weekly meal plans, grocery lists, recipes, instructions, etc all in one place. They are usually divided into seasons, so I can use a season from 2 or 3 of the books and have it covered, then start again.

Matt @ YLBody
Matt @ YLBody
6 years ago

Use the seasons to your advantage. There is a reason certain fruits and vegetables are cheaper during certain times of the year – it’s because they’re in abundance and farms have plenty of them! Also, forget the supermarket. Check out the farmer’s market towards the end. Often times you can bargain with the farmer as they’re trying to get rid of what they can and you can get more for your buck. One thing you shouldn’t do when it comes to food is to sacrifice your health at the concept of trying to save money. Don’t buy some crappy refined… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt @ YLBody

Speaking of seasons, and non-crappy-refined carbs, sweet potatoes (or yams or whatever people call them) are plentiful right now.

Roast a full pan in the oven at 400 for about an hour (you know they are ready when you smell the caramel) and keep in the fridge for the week to eat as a side for main dishes, as a fill for fritattas, even as a dessert with some nuts, honey, and cinnamon. Awesome staple.

stellamarina
stellamarina
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Just want to add that sweet potatoes can be easily boiled and used just like potatoes….I say this because as a Kiwi this was the usual way but many Americans do not seem to realize that sweet potatoes can be used in other ways than sweet type preparations. I love them roasted as well but left over boiled sweet potatoes cut up and fried with onions with an egg is a lovely easy meal. Add a bit of Portuguese sausage and it is fabulous.

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Oh, sweet potatoes! I cook up a batch, but I make breakfast smoothies out of them. I think it’s one of the most delicious smoothies I’ve ever had, though my husband does not agree!
Autumn Sweet Potato Smoothie
1 c. red grapes
1/2 medium orange, peeled
1/2 sweet potato, cooked and cooled
1/2 apple, seeded
1/4 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 t. fresh ginger
2 dates
2 c. ice

Blend!

Courtney
Courtney
6 years ago

I menu plan on Thursday evening every week, usually while waiting on my daughter at dance class. Meal planning is the biggest way that I save money on eating real, whole foods. Also, when we make soup, we always make extra and freeze it so we have an easy meal on those “what’s for dinner?” nights.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago

No way I’ll pay for recipes in an era of free massive internet databases. What I’d recommend instead of “recipes” is to master a few cooking methods (grilling, frying, baking, boiling, sandwiches, smoothies, ha ha). This is winter, so let’s say: stew (a mix of frying and boiling). *They all work the same.* -Brown your meat in whatever fat you like (olive oil, canola, lard, bacon drippings, whatever). Put aside. -Fry your onion & flavor veggies (peppers, celery, mushrooms, etc) with the garlic last as you don’t want to burn it -Add spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika, whatever.) -Add your… Read more »

ONE EC
ONE EC
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Agree with not paying, a little google-fu will provide you with lots of free meal planning sites. Yahoo Shine has a weekly menu, as does CookingLight.com, there are a ton of “mom blogs” that post weekly meal plans.

Peter Bülls
Peter Bülls
6 years ago

In my experience, people who eat out a lot – especially at work – severy overestimate the the variety they actually use. While a staff canteen or restaurants offer a lot of different meals, many are just minuscule variations of each other or repetitive and people tend to chose stuff they already know.

While the 7-day-cycle mentioned in the article is pretty restrictive, a 28 days cycle would probably offer a wider variety.

Also, it’s not really necessary to constantly hunt for bargains w/ regards to perishable items: Vegetables have seasons, which are not that hard to track.

Laura
Laura
6 years ago

I am easily bored, so I plan our meals each weekend before I go grocery shopping. I pull out my calendar to see which nights are busy, so I can plan easy or easier meals, or just let everyone know that they’re on their own for dinner that night. Then I sit down with a cookbook or two and select my menues, and write down the menu for each evening on a piece of paper, which is tacked to the fridge, so everyone can answer the “what’s for dinner?” question. My grocery list is based on that menu. This is… Read more »

Bree
Bree
6 years ago

I use the Ziplist app religiously when meal planning – it has a meal planning function that I can export to my Google Calendar, and it can also “clip” recipes from the internet and add ingredients to my shopping list. Then I just use the app on my phone whenever I’m shopping.

Erin
Erin
6 years ago
Reply to  Bree

We use this too, and it’s made meal planning SO much easier. I don’t actually keep my recipes there, but instead list ‘meals’ as recipes, with a list of things I need to buy for each one (so enchiladas includes rice and beans as well as enchilada ingredients). Every week we scroll through the pictures, pick out meals (I write them on a little white board that hangs on our fridge), and I add them to the planner, then auto-add ingredients to my grocery list. It’s super easy and fast, and the list of meals helps us come up with… Read more »

Jeremy Reeves
Jeremy Reeves
6 years ago

I love to cook, my main problem is always making too much. I usually hope that it will freeze well or that i can eat it every day. I hope i can plan as well as this in the future though. Any savings are good!

Sarah
Sarah
6 years ago

Frozen vegetables! So often I buy fresh veggies with the best intentions only to forget about them rotting away in the fridge. Such a terrible waste!

We stock up on all different varieties and they are ready to supplement any meal in just a few minutes. Experiment with roasting them, sauteing them, or making quick sauces to dress them up.

We still buy fresh when I have something specific in mind, but frozen veggies are such a mindlessly easy way to get healthy stuff on the table every night.

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
6 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

I do the same thing: buy fresh veggies that sometimes go to waste. Ironically, I just got home from a trip to the store – and bought mostly frozen veggies this time.

PawPrint
PawPrint
6 years ago

You brought back memories of my childhood when Wednesday night was spaghetti night. Since my mom worked (relatively unusual in the 50s), and she was the cook, we did a 5 day rotation. On the weekends, she’d do something different, as I recall. My father made the turkey soup following Thanksgiving and Christmas, however.

Mrs EconoWiser
Mrs EconoWiser
6 years ago

I am addicted to freezer cooking. Whenever I make an oven dish or soup or something that’s easy to freeze I’ll make 8 severings instead of 2. This way I get to freeze 6 servings. The trick is to remember to take 2 servings out of the freezer in the morning. I have a great supply. This week I only have to cook once, the rest of the evenings I’ll only have to microwave the stuff I cooked previously. It’s a time and money saver. It also saves lots and lots of stress. Plus, it’s a lot healthier. I even… Read more »

Jess
Jess
6 years ago

I try off and on to plan – made pre-set shopping lists with boxes to check off if I needed that item (organized as best I could by section of the supermarket), spaces for lunches, dinners, and “extracurriculars” (aka, nights I might not be able to cook). I had mixed results – I mostly just like reading cookbooks! I have trouble planning and executing during the holiday season, in part because my second job eats up most of my weeknights and the majority of my weekend days (and hubby doesn’t like to cook, and didn’t seem super thrilled with a… Read more »

nicoleandmaggie
nicoleandmaggie
6 years ago
Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
6 years ago

Haha, the notion that spending 30 minutes cooking is for an “emergency meal” is pretty funny to me. Around here, that’s an elaborate meal. Yesterday I had a sandwich for dinner. I only make about half a dozen different things for dinner, and generally they don’t take any more than 10 minutes of work. I always keep plenty of extra ingredients for these things on hand. If I want something fancy, I’ll go out.

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
6 years ago

Ah, yes, but I may not be cooking the entire 30 minutes (pasta cooking, soup simmering, etc. while I am doing something else).
But there isn’t a reason to complicate things, for sure.

Laura
Laura
6 years ago

What I need is to learn more slow cooker recipes; I’ve only mastered two (beef stew and shredded BBQ pork). My problem is that I often get stuck late at work – and when I’ll get stuck is unpredictable, as the problem is half my work flow and half the absolutely wretched public transit system in Boston – so even when I’ve planned dinner, I get home 60-90 minutes later than expected and the troops are ready to eat ME when I walk in the door! This is why we go out so frequently… (And no, making DH or DS… Read more »

cathleen
cathleen
6 years ago
Reply to  Laura

i would suggest taking a cooking class all together as a family! Another suggestion for the people who don’t like to “cook” is to think “assembly”. A couple of ideas that anyone can do, without really cooking: Salad bar Pasta Bar Homemade pizza *(buy dough and grab ingredients from salad bar if you must) Tapas or antipasti platters (meats, cheeses, pepers, olives, veggies) Since you like sandwiches, get a panini machine or grill pan with press. Set up sandwich bar. Even a humble sandwich tastes better toasted. As for slow cookers, set a reminder on your phone or computer to… Read more »

kate
kate
6 years ago
Reply to  Laura

Can your family start the meal that you’ve already made/planned? When I was a kid (middle- and high-school), I did a lot of that on the days my mom worked. Start the pasta water boiling, pre-heat the oven and put the caserole in at the appointed time, make a salad, etc. My sister and I would come home to a note on the kitchen table with detailed instructions. For example, my mom would make a lasagna after dinner on Tuesday night and put it in the fridge. On Wednesday, we’d get home from school at 3:30, pre-heat the oven at… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
6 years ago
Reply to  kate

Cranky Old Lady alert….: Kids are actually much more capable than they seem to be allowed to be these days. When my oldest sibling turned 11, our mom decreed that we should come home after school instead of walking to a sitter’s house. That was the point at which much of the meal prep fell to us. These were not rocket-science meals, mind you — baked chicken, meat loaf, chili, spaghetti, hamburgers, sloppy joes, chicken and dumplings, beef stew and the like — but we did the whole typical-for-that-era meal of main dish, starch (usually some form of potato) and… Read more »

Priswell
Priswell
6 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

Exactly! My mom worked, and at 11, I was making Shake & Bake chicken, meatloaf and spaghetti sauce. By the time I was 16, I ran the whole kitchen.

Now as an adult, out of all of the skills I have, I am exceptionally grateful that being able to cook is one of them.

Laura
Laura
6 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

I would love to get DH and DS interested in cooking, but I don’t see it happening in this universe. DH is infamous for “substituting” in recipes, like using water instead of butter and eggs in a cake mix (hint: flour + water = glue), and creating his own instructions instead of following the recipe’s because “it’s too much bother.” DS will literally go hungry rather than fix himself food thanks to the joys of certain developmental delays. I fix meals or we eat out or we eat frozen entrees/sandwiches or we starve.

Renee s
Renee s
6 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

My parents were great and I learned a lot from them BUT cooking was not a thing that I learned. I’m 25 and know some basics, but I have followed my families habits and go out/order in WAY too often. It’s not new years yet, but I am starting my resolution now to start cooking at my apartment.

cathleen
cathleen
6 years ago

My best advice (as a restaurant owner and wife to a chef) would be to learn techniques, not recipes. Then you can cook anything you have on hand. Stock basic staples (different for each family) so you don’t have to run out for 1 or 2 ingredients Buy what’s on sale and cook “from the pantry”. Cook seasonally for best value and nutrition. Experiment with different cuisines and ingredients. Shop at local “ethnic” markets. Huge price savings in my area. Also, farmer’s markets, CSAs to expand your “mystery box” skills. Have a garden, even just the basics, if possible. I… Read more »

erica
erica
6 years ago

Binders of recipes!

My spouse developed a food-based allergy several years ago but it took awhile to determine the exact culprit. In the meantime, we had to pull lots of different things from our diets and it became easiest to learn how to cook! We started keeping binders of recipes that we’d printed off the internet and working our way through those. Every Saturday morning I determine our recipes for the week and make a grocery list. We cook on Sunday and eat the same thing all week.

SAHMama
SAHMama
6 years ago

Mama doesn’t have time for fancy meals around here. Plus I live with little kids and picky eaters.

Meals I regularly make include:
homemade pizza (dough takes maybe 10 minutes of messing with; rest is rising time)
grilled cheese (takes 5 minutes and even my DH can do it)
mac & cheese
shredded pork/chicken/beef
tacos
spaghetti & meatballs (I make a huge batch of meatballs and freeze them every few months)
fried rice
chili
tuna casserole

Andrea
Andrea
6 years ago

On the weekend I make double (or triple) batches of food. We freeze one meal and eat the other during the week. Do this for a few weeks and you will have decent size freezer inventory. I also freeze items in flat foodsaver bags as those shapes defrost rather quickly. Also the foodsaver bags can be boiled on the stove in a pot of water to warm up (even from frozen). I have done this with bbq chicken and burger patties and they taste great. Love this topic.

Emily @ evolvingPF
Emily @ evolvingPF
6 years ago

I tried meal planning for a few months last winter in conjunction with once-per-week shopping and it didn’t work so well for me. I ended up over-buying food because I overestimated my needs and wouldn’t let myself run out of anything since I was trying to not run to the store. Before that experiment and since I just batch-cook and eat the same thing for a few days in a row (I don’t mind the monotony). I like that more than planning in advance because I can take advantage of seasonal foods.

Jamie@SoyMilkMustache
6 years ago

I’ve settled into a routine that works well for me and my dude: Every Sunday morning, we take about two hours to drink mimosas and make a week’s worth of food together– Sometimes it is a casserole, sometimes it is a crockpot meal, and sometimes it’s more random– Like, yesterday we made a ton of falafel balls, hummus, and cucumber/tomato/feta salad. These meals will either be our dinners for the week, or our lunches. Usually dinners, since we can throw together lunches pretty easily. Of course, this means that we eat the same thing every day for five days (the… Read more »

Michele
Michele
6 years ago

My husband is the one in charge of the meal planning and most of the cooking (hurray!). One thing we’ve done recently that works well is having extremely easy foods on hand for nights when he doesn’t feel like cooking. We keep about six cans of Campbell’s soup and a three-pack of frozen pizzas from Sam’s Club. It’s worked really well for the one night a week we need it. Previously, we were so hung up on not eating “junk” that we’d just go out to eat on those nights — therefore consuming more fat and calories than what’s in… Read more »

Mom of five
Mom of five
6 years ago
Reply to  Michele

We take a similar approach. We’ve found it’s better for us to keep a supply of these foods in our home. Not only are they probably healthier (read less unhealthy) than the Chinese food or cheesesteaks from the place on the corner, they’re also a good bit cheaper.

Mom of five
Mom of five
6 years ago

When one of our adopted kids was in the throes of attachment issues, frozen pizza and scrambled eggs were about all I could emotionally or physically handle without having a nervous breakdown. Even the thought of going out to pick up takeout was too much for me. Life is much more normal these days and somewhat hectic. My husband and I have to watch our sodium and our carbs. What I try to do is cook up a fair amount of chicken breasts at the beginning of the week. These can be used in a variety of different easy meals.… Read more »

Marie-Josée
Marie-Josée
6 years ago

In order to avoid food allergies, we rotate our protein sources for dinner. Monday is fish, Tuesday chicken, Wednesday is pork, Thursday is beef, Friday is turkey. These are interchangeable, of course. We create recipes around the protein source and eat the leftovers for lunch. We have green smoothies with lunch. These cover our raw green veggies for the day, plus the wonderful anitoxidants from berries. We make two batches of soup per week, made from different yellow and green veggies (broc or kale, sweet potatoes or squash, always with onions or leeks and different herbs or spices). These covers… Read more »

Tiffany
Tiffany
6 years ago

My local newspaper publishes a food section once a week that includes 7 days of suppers, including the recipes for those meals and the grocery list of ingredients. I’ve looked at them and they are pretty frugal choices with a good variety, plus many of the meals use/reuse the same ingredients. If nothing else it gives you ideas!

Catherine
Catherine
6 years ago

I do a meal plan each week and post it on the fridge. I’m out of the house from 5:30-6:30 every weekday, and my partner typically doesn’t get home until 7 or even 8, so if we want to eat dinner at a decent hour, we HAVE to have a plan. That gives us a lot of motivation. In addition to the weekly meal plan, we do a big batch cook Saturday every couple of months and fill up the freezers with different soups, casseroles, etc. Most weeks I plan on pulling 3-4 meals from the freezer, then supplementing with… Read more »

Ronald W
Ronald W
6 years ago

My fiance and I like to shop for two weeks worth of food at a time. We’ve noticed a significant difference in the grocery bill since we’ve stopped shopping throughout the week for individual meals. It saves us a lot of time aswell!

Amber
Amber
6 years ago

I have a menu board that has been neglected in my kitchen. I don’t know why I haven’t used it yet. It would make life so much easier. Thanks for the reminder!

Randy C.
Randy C.
6 years ago

Adding a quick meal list to the cabinet is a great idea. I know I would definitely use that when I get home late and don’t want to order fatty delivery.

Jordan
Jordan
6 years ago

I like to keep track of the different meals that I cook by writing them down on my iPad and taking a picture. It helps when I can’t decide what kind of dinner I would like to make.

Joshua
Joshua
6 years ago

I’v never tried online meal planning. I wouldn’t mind trying one of those sites to see what kind of delicious meals I can make! Thank you for the helpful tips!

Cassie
Cassie
6 years ago

One thing I like to do is prep the ingredients for dinners in advance. As I’m putting away the groceries, I’ll chop the vegetables and anything else I can in advance. Then when I get home from work later that week it’s a lot easier to make dinner. Dinner doesn’t take as long to make each night because most of the prep work is already done.

Nancy
Nancy
6 years ago

I keep recipes I’ve collected on my computer in a web program called Evernote. Then I can search based on a key ingredient or a tag word. Chicken thighs on sale? Kale to use up before it’s past its prime? Time for a meatless meal? Being able to search recipes quickly really helps me plan meals and prevent wasting food.

Jennifer
Jennifer
6 years ago

Hey, just wanted to add my quick two cents and let you guys know, there are tons of websites that cater to people that aren’t sure what to eat with what they have. Sites like recipepuppy, you can take what you have in your pantry and then hit submit and it gives you recipes based on your pantry items. From there if you don’t have something, you can base your grocery list off of the things you need to make those meals. Hope it helps!:D

leisurelyviking
leisurelyviking
6 years ago

I really love the app Pepperplate. I can import all my recipes and easily add their ingredients to a shopping list accessible from a phone app. It organizes the list by aisles at the grocery store so that you can check them off. I tend to bookmark recipes I want to try, and once I decide I like something I’ll add it to pepperplate.

Shiv Sharma
Shiv Sharma
6 years ago

Nice tips to keep health in good conditions…I follow the same…

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