If you saw our previous article, Help Me! Meal Planning Basics and panicked, relax! We put a lot of information in that article about meal planning to get you thinking long-term rather than the day-to-day survival mode. Long-term thinking will help you as are meal planning in a healthier way, prevent impulse buying, and save you time and money.
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In this article we give you a week’s worth of meal ideas and the shopping list to go with it. It is nice to have 2 or 3 weeks worth of menus that your family likes, but this will at least get you started. Click the link below to see my menu for the week.
Note: You can substitute one protein (meat, fish, veggie crumbles) for another. So if you don’t eat chicken, but you love ham, just substitute ham where I have chicken. If every day you have protein, 2 vegetables, fruit, and maybe some kind of starch (rice, potatoes, bread, pasta, cereal), you will be doing well.
Read through the list before you go shopping!
You probably already have many of these ingredients in your house. Do not re-buy them! Take a few minutes to search through the cabinets and then CROSS OFF any ingredients that you do not need to purchase. I am not trying to make you spend more money, so please take the time to do this.
Adjust as Necessary
If you are going to make a double batch of chocolate chip cookies instead of making one batch of chocolate chip cookies and one batch of molasses crinkle cookies, then you do not need to purchase the items for the molasses crinkle recipe. (On the grocery list, these items have asterisks next to them.) If you are going to buy pre-made cookies instead of baking them, make sure you write “Buy cookies” on the list.
Great benefits: Eat better and save money
Putting the initial work into planning ahead can be time-consuming and overwhelming but the benefits will reward your efforts. When I stopped shopping on a last-minute basis or buying pre-made meals I ended up saving $100 a month! Our food waste went down significantly as well because I was managing my leftovers better. (See the bottom paragraph in Help Me! Meal Planning Basics for leftover helps.)