Saturday, June 13

Money Saving Tips | Meal Planning Tips For Commitment Phobes

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Okay so WHY did I ever stop meal-planning before I grocery shop? Seriously when we don't go into the grocery store with a plan we basically just hemorrhage money. It's like we have food ADD and we're like, chocolate covered chia seeds? Yeah we'll use those. How about goat cheese? Sure! Let's get tomato sauce for pasta (but then we forget the spaghetti squash). We end up $200 poorer with no real meals and lots of food that ends up going bad because we can't make meals out of it. Anyone else?

Well after a week of eating out because every night we'd look at each other at 7pm, raging hangry, and ask "What are we doing for dinner?!" And then we'd end up getting takeout or going out because we had no meals we could make at home (just lots of meal bits and pieces) and spending way more money that we needed to in the process. So after a week of that I decided enough was enough. I'm getting bloated from all the salt in food prepared by people that are not me, and tired of watching money fly out of our bank account. (But I just got paid?!)

Here's my problem though: I'm a meal commitment phobe! I don't like having all my meals planned out ahead of time because what if I'm not in the mood to eat that at that time on that day? I like being able to roll with my cravings or feelings (as long as they are in line with my nutrition goals) and not be boxed in to something I don't want to eat just because it's in the calendar. Ya know?

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So how do we fix this? Because even meal commitment phobes need to keep their grocery budget in check and keep their nutrition on point. So what do we do?

Here's what works for me...

I plan a week at a time, loosely. Here's what I mean by that. I know my favorite breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. And I pretty much eat the same few meals for those meals because they are quick, simple, 21 Day Fix Approved, and I like them. If you follow me on instagram you've surely seen me chowing down on apples and almond butter or tuna boats in baby bell peppers. And I know you've seen a lot of omelettes with kale! HAHA. I eat those things multiple days a week. So at the store I buy enough of that for a week and then just allow myself the freedom to mix and match my breaksfasts, lunches, an snacks using those things and leftovers.

All I actually plan out are our family's dinners. Here's the brilliance! Dinners are really where we spend the most money since we drink ShakeO at least once a day (so that takes up either breakfast, lunch, or a snack) and leftovers or simple lunches that we keep supplies stocked. So we don't spend a lot on food for the first 3/4 of the day. It's dinners that get us when we don't plan. What I do is I go to the grocery store and I look at what's a good deal. Then I plan out 5-6 dinners based on that. I always allow our family a flex day to eat leftovers or to go out as a family or meet friends.

I know what dinners our family likes and we usually have 3-4 that we keep on rotation. Then I check the store for deals and build the last 2 dinners based on that. What was new for our family this week? Crab-stuffed tilapia and bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. That was new in the deli this week and sounded fun! The pasta, burgers, and chicken meals are ones we have fairly frequently.

Another bonus about this is that when you eat similar meals frequently (aka, family favorites) it because super easy to shop for them. Keeping the meals simple (meat, veggie, possibly a carb) keeps shopping simple and keeps our meals healthier. There's no need for lots of fuss or extra ingredients. The more clean we keep our meals, the easier it is for our entire family to stay healthier!

So we were able to get food for our whole family for a week on budget! Without any stressful multi-store tactics, tedious coupon scouring, or having to settle for junk food. High quality, fresh, and clean meals. That's the goal! I hope this helps inspire those of you who are like me and hate spending hours meal planning, coupon clipping, and then being locked into a meal plan! Try it and see if it helps you stay on budget and on plan with your nutrition!

You can even download the weekly meal calendar I used in the photo above by clicking here! Enjoy!

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