Meal planning to me used to be limited to having a box of hamburger helper in the cabinet, ground beef in the freezer and a can of sweet peas. Not that this isn't a fine meal choice, we definitely still have our hamburger helper nights, but my idea of meal planning has reached it's "aha"moment.
My "aha" moment hit when I had my 2nd child and was too overwhelmed to even think straight when dinner time came around. Admist the crying (the baby, not me... ok that has happened too), the blank stares into the freezer, fridge, cabinet- then back to the freezer again, and the intense innate need to provide a well balanced somewhat homemade meal for my family I came across the idea of meal planning.
Here is what meal planning looks like on my Fridge:
What's for Dinner?
Every Sunday I sit down at my table to create a menu based on what basics I have stocked in my cabinets, freezer and fridge. Honestly, this will take me maybe 15 minutes at the most. It really doesn't have to be an extravagant plan. Just something to stick up on the fridge to remind you and to avoid the all to common question from your family: "What's for dinner?" (Just typing that question makes me cringe!)
Off to the Grocery Store(s)
I try to make it to the grocery store once for every 2 weeks. I spend approximately $75 for two weeks worth of meals/snacks (by meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner) for 2 adults and 1 toddler. Of course there are occasional trips back to the store for fresh fruit, veggies and dairy products.
I use my menu plan to make my grocery store list. Reminder: most of my meal ideas come from what is on sale that week, what I have stockpiled in my cabinets and coupons I have to make the most frugal meals possible.
And now I will begin the first meal plan from the Frugal Table... Enjoy!