I have mastered a pretty great strategy for getting groceries in an organized manner while saving money as well. When we stay organized, it’s much easier to eat healthier and save precious minutes out of the day. A lot of meal planning strategies out there plan for you to eat the same dang thing for lunch everyday on Monday… chicken and broccoli. On Tuesday…chicken and broccoli. Oh yea it’s hump day what are we having?… chicken and broccoli.
What we know now about nutrition is it is important to get a wide variety of nutrients. This means mixing up the vegetables you eat and mixing up your protein sources, and your grains etc. Yes it may be easier to eat the same thing all the time but mixing things up can be quite easy as well.
This is how I meal plan and what my time strategy looks like.
Every Two Weeks:
The big grocery haul:
Every two weeks I believe is doable to get a big load of groceries. Make sure you pick a time when you HAVE the time to browse and make sure you get everything on your list (more on the list below). This haul is going to include 2 weeks worth of your proteins plus all the produce and other list items you will need for the week.
Here is what is normally on my list for proteins (depending what’s on sale):
4-5 packs of ground turkey
1-2 big pack of chicken breasts
Large flat of eggs
2-3 large cartons of egg whites
1-2 packages of turkey bacon
Big pack of deli meat (nitrate free)
Here are things I sometimes buy to mix it up:
1 big chuck roast
Package of frozen shrimp or shrimp ring
Extra lean ground beef
Once you get home portion out your meats into what you would use for a single meal. Then decide what you will use before it expires and throw everything else into your freezer or deepfreeze.
Meal Plan – write out on your calendar or day planner what you will make for a big meal each day of the week (based off what meat or protein you have). Write out things you might want to bake or any snack ideas you have in mind. Then write out some ideas for lunches. Take into consideration if you will have leftovers to bring or not. Make a list of ingredients you will need for each recipe and write out the rest of the groceries you need (oils, spices, bread etc). This process should take half hour MAX. If you need inspiration for meals pull out your cookbooks, visit pinterest, or look at all the yummy recipes on my site.
Shop – Once or twice a week for groceries. Using your list. Buy more produce then you think you need (you’ll end up consuming more of it) and check your produce well at the store. Buy on sale produce to save money.
Food Prep – Go through your produce and decide on things you want to snack on and cut those up and put into containers. **If you end up with produce that’s going to expire at home prep it/cut it up and freeze it! Most produce items freeze well. Cut up veg you know you will need for the next day such as stir fry veg or potatoes. Store these in containers in the fridge for an easy grab and cook.
Think a day in advance for meals especially if you know you will be busy the following day. Pull out things from the freezer you need for tomorrow. Prep tomorrow’s produce the night before and store in containers so it’s all ready to cook. This avoids getting hangry and eating whatever is available. If you have a busy couple days prep two days in advance so your ready to cook. Utilizing a slow cooker as well is great for busy days.
Remember your lunches. Make them the night before and if it’s a meal that’s not going to go soggy or bad make a few at one time so you have 2-3 lunches ready all in one night. A few examples are cold deli meat wraps, containers of berries, yogurt parfaits (granola on the side).
Check your expiry dates or check on the produce in your fridge. If things look like there going to spoil soon push the meal you were going to cook those “on the edge” items to the next day. Or you can cut up/prep and throw into the freezer.
At the end of the day what makes things easier is planning and writing down your ideas. Making lists. Buying things in bulk. Planning the night before or in advance. It may seem to take more time but if you trust the process and stay consistent with planning and organizing it will actually SAVE you time. Especially when you master it. But mastering anything takes practice. Hope you find this information helpful!