Thursday, January 23, 2014

Meal Planning

Zach’s good friend, Decatur (the one that visited with his girlfriend, Deana, a couple weeks ago) wrote me a message on Facebook before his visit.  It was all about tips to save money on food.  As previously noted, spending money on food is our biggest struggle.  I used to go without food to buy shoes, but times have changed…
He said one of his best money saving tips is meal planning. This week will be my first attempt at making a meal plan and only buying groceries that correspond to it.  Oh, and all meals will be vegan.  Double whammy. (If you’re interested in our diet, we highly recommend Skinny Bitch and Skinny Bastard.  They’re worth the read even if you aren’t thinking of a vegan lifestyle because they’re so funny!) Luckily, our Kroger is pretty good about keeping vegan alternatives in stock.  We also use the Kroger app to load our card with coupons.  You don’t need the physical coupon; the discount happens automatically when you scan your card and buy the product.
First, I decided to brainstorm.  My biggest issue with meal planning is not being in the mood for that night’s assigned meal.  I can’t even pick out my outfit the night before because, inevitably, I don’t feel like wearing it the next day.  I’m not going to try any new recipes (except maybe a dessert surprise for my hubby) this time.  I would like to make it as simple as possible.  And we’ll have to shop for the little Tu this trip, because she’s eating real food!  Proud Mama over here!

Next step: fill out my fancy Meal Plan sheet.  One of my bffs, Lisa, got these for us as a wedding gift.  (She also got us check-it-of-when-it’s-gone grocery lists: best idea ever.)  I included what Tutu would be eating as well.  We’re not supposed to introduce new foods too quickly, so she eats the same thing for three days.  This is an easy way to keep track.  I also included a couple snacks that are easy to grab, but still healthy.  

Now the list.  Tutu’s list is easy.  She needs 1 banana, 1 sweet potato, and 1 avocado.  Done.  Our list is a little more tricky.  We love (love isn’t a strong enough word, are in love?) with Daiya “cheese”.  It is the best vegan cheese hands down.  It actually melts.  That’s usually my main complaint (I almost said main beef…but that seemed inappropriate) with other vegan cheeses.  It is tapioca-based and soy-free.  We eat a lot of soy elsewhere in our diet, so we cut back where we can.  Anyway, our local Kroger doesn’t carry it, so we venture out of town for it (it’s that good).  
I forgot the list page at home, so this time I’m doing it the old fashioned way: by hand.  We WILL stick to the list.  I’ll follow up after week 1 of meal planning.

Do any of you follow a strict meal plan?  How does that work out?

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