Each Sunday David and I menu plan and grocery shop. I'm not sure how meals are made without a menu plan. By having a plan, I the "what do I cook?" question is answered. I also have all the needed ingredients in our kitchen, which saves me time making extra trips to the store each week.
Our focus is on real food. We try to avoid a lot of packaged and processed foods. Although, I'll admit that I tend to keep packaged whole wheat crackers, protein bars, premade hummus etc. on hand. I once made all such things from scratch but with the fatigue of pregnancy and an active eight month old, I've allowed myself to buy some things premade. I still try to purchase these packaged products as wholesome as possible.
I prefer to buy the "dirty dozen" organic. It's not a hard rule, and we often will buy these items conventionally. Sometimes I can't find everything as an organic. Sometimes the budget won't allow for it. Sometimes I simply forget to mark on my list which ones to buy organic and which to buy non-organic. Sometimes, I just don't care. haha
Our food budget tends to be on the higher end. We set a weekly budget of about $50 when we lived in other states. However, in our current state we've not been able to come close to that even with preparing the same meals and buying the same foods. We've found that an equivalent budget here is about $80 per week (no organic foods). Yeah, it's high but so is the cost of gas, electricity, water etc. Every area as a different cost of living. High cost of groceries is just part of it. I'd love to figure out a way to cut the cost while still maintaining real foods but so far I haven't found anything that really makes a significant impact.
I enjoy keeping a record of all of our previous menu plans. When we create a new plan we can reference the plan from about the same time last year. No sense reinventing the wheel every time!
Strategies this week:
- We're buying a ham and then using this one meat for three meals
- Now that we're expecting baby #2, I'm going to try to create more nutritious breakfasts and snacks for myself.
- Planned leftovers has become a favorite of mine. I enjoy not having to make a big cooking fuss in the middle of the day
- Theme options: slow cooker, sandwich, salad, soup, pasta, pizza, quesadilla, potato, fish/seafood
- Pear and grains cereal (quinoa, pear, dried cranberries, pecans, honey, cinnamon)
- Eggs, bacon, toast, orange
- Green smoothie
- Parfait (yogurt, mixed berries, honey, almonds)
- (Salad) Mandarin Orange Salad
- leftover pizza
- (soup & slow cooker) sweet potato and lentil soup
- leftover soup
- (sandwich) ABC (apple, bacon, cheddar) sandwiches, carrots and celery sticks with hummus
- (fish/seafood) seasoned baked fish, sweet carrots, brown rice
- (Pizza) homemade supreme style pizza
- Ham, asparagus, potatoes, cranberry sauce
- Plantation Ham Pie
- Ham Primavera
- apple and peanut butter
- granola/protein bar
- whole wheat crackers with cheddar cheese slices
- carrots with hummus
- cottage cheese and blueberries
- hardboiled egg