getting back on track: meal planning

October 29, 2012

There used to be a time in my life where I spent a lot of time planning out meals, planning out grocery shopping, prepping for the week, and feeling like I had it all together. Somehow, those days are looooong gone. I’m not sure if it’s pure laziness, being in grad school, or just being busier, but I’m calling myself out. Things have gotten out of control in my kitchen lately.

There have been too many days where I go out to lunch. There have been too many times where my husband eats cereal for dinner (which isn’t always a bad thing). There have been too many “eeeeh, there’s nothing planned for dinner tonight” kind of nights. It has got. to. stop.

Now more than ever before I feel like I need to be really organized. I feel like my life has totally exploded lately (not a bad thing!), and there are rarely days where I am able to be at home before 5:00 or 6:00. We’re a hungry bunch by then, so not having anything planned for dinner by then can make for a crabby couple.

For right now, I’m starting with baby steps to get back on track. This weekend I went grocery shopping, stocked the pantry with items like canned beans and tomatoes (and items to be frozen like chicken/beef/sausage for the husband), and made a plan for meals for the week. Hopefully with this in place I’ll get back to having one less stressor in my life. Seriously, not knowing what we’re going to eat for dinner stresses me out. Please don’t make fun of me, but I like making my husband happy with nice hot dinners every night! It’s usually the only time of the day where we get to talk and catch up, so I’d like to serve his something other than canned soup and grilled cheese.

So, here’s the plan for the weeknights this week.

Monday — leftover Minestrone soup

TuesdayCreamy Spaghetti Squash Primavera (for her), leftover meatloaf (for him)

August 5, 2011 014

Wednesday — Southwestern Breakfast Hash (I bought a 10 lb. bag of potatoes this weekend for $1.99 — they’ve got to be used up!)

Thursday — Quinoa, Roasted Broccoli, and Beans (for her)/Chicken (for him)

Friday — Pizza Night/Out

Setting myself up for success — I like it!

Question: Do you meal plan each week?

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie October 29, 2012 at 6:46 am

One of my biggest stresses is trying to figure out what to eat for dinner! So, I now make a menu for the whole month and put in on the frig. We have a salad night, grill night, chicken night, bean night, etc. I throw in a couple of new recipes every month. This has worked great for us.

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Erica @ For the Sake of Cake October 29, 2012 at 6:48 am

I MUST meal plan! If not, I a) have no idea what to get at the store and b) immediately want to go out for dinner… neither of which are good! I do tend to feel so much more “with it” when I meal plan too!

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Jennifer October 29, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I agree 100%!

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Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness October 29, 2012 at 7:26 am

I have to meal plan every week otherwise I am totally lost in the grocery store and end up aimlessly wandering the aisles! I do like to do a big prep of things on Sunday too so I don’t have to cook as much during the week! If I didn’t plan I’d end up eating cereal every night for dinner and while I might be very happy with that not quite sure it would be the healthiest thing for me!

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Leah October 29, 2012 at 8:17 am

I do meal plan every week and I HATE it…not sure why. But it is definitely not enjoyable to me to write out the meal plan and the grocery list for the week.

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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles October 29, 2012 at 9:27 am

I’m definitely a meal planner! I’m a student so I have to be careful with my money. Having a plan each week helps me make sure I’m not buying too many “extras” at the grocery store and allows me to stick to a decent budget each week. Plus really, I hate that “Ugh, I have nothing planned!” sort of feelings when you get home and want dinner.

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clare @ fittingitallin October 29, 2012 at 9:30 am

Totally know what you mean – old habits that somehow disappeared. I’m sure you’ll feel a million times better being prepared!

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Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries October 29, 2012 at 9:30 am

We’re in the same boat. I’m embarrassed by how much we’ve eaten out in the past month. We’ve been SO BUSY – traveling most weekends – and I’ve totally slacked on meal planning/grocery shopping. I did meal plan and go shopping yesterday, though. I have four meals planned for this week. That’s huge. ;)

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Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl October 29, 2012 at 9:52 am

I plan out my lunches, dinners, and sometimes even my breakfasts about a week in advanced. This is a MUST for me and my sanity. Not only does it make grocery shopping easier, but it keeps me on track with healthy eating and doesn’t leave me tempted to go out to eat when I am in a pinch.

I am very intrigued by your menu plan for Wednesday night’s dinner…I LOVE breakfast for dinner. Can’t wait to read about it! :)

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Parita October 29, 2012 at 10:01 am

I try my very best to meal plan on a weekly basis. It just makes things so much easier during the week, esp. when you have a full time job and long commute. And you’re not the only one that like to make sure her husband is fed a good dinner. I’m the same way. And not because it’s my duty, because it makes me happy!

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Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin October 29, 2012 at 10:02 am

I just prepare my breakfast and lunch the night before but don’t plan what I’ll have for dinner. I am not married though so I just have to worry about myself – usually will have leftovers, something quick, or go out to eat with friends! Good job getting back on track, it shows how much a difference a little planning ahead can make!

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Meghan @ After the Ivy League October 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I don’t meal plan per se each week, but I do try to cook up some vegetables/protein to use throughout the week over the weekend, when I have time. It makes coming home from school/work after 8pm so much easier when I have dinner ready to go in the fridge!

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Michelle@Peachy Palate October 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I plan meals every week based on what I’ve pinned and what I’ve seen on other blogs as inspiration! Also keeping what’s in season in mind. I don’t look at it as chore but an opportunity to try lots of new things!

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Katie @ Livehalffull October 29, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Yes-I meal plan every week and my husband does the shopping! Otherwise, we spend way too much money and end up aimless every weeknight!

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Giselle@ahealthyhappyhome October 29, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Yes! I try to plan every Sunday but sometimes get off track… I have a spaghetti squash recipe planned for Tuesday night too but like the one your making a little more! Might have to switch it up :-)

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Olviya@servingsisters.com October 29, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I’ve recently gotten back on the meal planning bandwagon. My husband and I are both working students so if I don’t plan our waist sizes increase while our $ decreases. ;)

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Megan @ Fiterature October 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Lady, you are speaking my language this week. We have totally gotten off track on our meal planning, and it turns us into crazy, microwaving, eating in front of the TV people!!! Ahaha.

So this weekend, we made a huge batch of chili (meat for him, TVP for me) and a big batch of Butternut Squash Potato soup. We froze some, and are set for this whole week for lunch and dinner. It feels SO good!!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm

I just started really meal planning this school year and I’m loving it! It makes me feel so organized and I love not having to decide what to make at the last minute every night.

Good luck with getting back on track with it this week It looks like you have an awesome plan – especially that Southwestern breakfast hash! I bet that’s going to be good.

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Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries October 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm

I’m a big fan of meal planning. I do it every Sunday evening while making my grocery list since Monday after work is my grocery shopping day. Cody likes it so that he knows what we’re having each evening, it makes grocery shopping easier and more budget friendly, and like you said, it’s one less thing to stress about for me during the week. I love to cook for my husband too – it’s one of my favorite things to do for him!

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janae@hungryrunnergirl October 29, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Yay for getting back on track with your meal planning. I plan about 3 days at a time because any more than that intimidates me ha. Your squash primavera is making me drool. PS I usually read your blog in the middle of the night on my iphone while I am feeding Brooke so sorry I haven’t comment in a while:)

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Katie @ Peace Love & Oats October 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm

omg that spaghetti squash primavera is soooo good! Why won’t John eat that? WAY better than meatloaf!

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Heather's Creative Concoctions October 29, 2012 at 10:43 pm

I am totally on the same page as you. Especially since starting grad school. Lately its been 1 week is good, next week a mess. I don’t know that I will ever consistenctly be on top of things- especially as holidays, christmas shopping and finals are inevitably approaching. Now you have inspired me to pay a bit more attention. I’m sure you’ll get back in the groove!

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Michelle @ Eat Move Balance October 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Like you, I have been a bit of a slacker lately when it comes to making dinner. So, just within the last two weeks, I’ve pulled myself together and started meal planning on the weekend for weeknight dinners. What a difference!!! And it doesn’t take all that long, is way less stressful when it comes down to it, and keeps us eating lots of delicious and healthy meals. :)

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Amber K October 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I do plan so I know if I need to pick up certain things at the store. But I’m also in a bit of a food rut. Time to switch things up!

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Shana November 1, 2012 at 7:14 am

I think its nice that you make dinner for you and your hubby. The world would be a better place if we could all enjoy at hot meal at home every night.

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Beth November 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I try to meal plan, but usually only manage to plan ahead 2-3 days at a time, making several trips to the store each week. Planning and shopping for an entire week all at once is daunting!

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