I have been creating meal plans for quite a number of years now, too many to count, which makes me feel old! I should say that I have been haphazardly creating meal plans as I haven’t been very consistent especially in the last 6 or so years. When my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 9 I was very diligent in making sure all meals were balanced with carbs being counted, etc. However, as he has grown older and able to make his own food it hasn’t been a priority. Probably one of the reasons is because if he doesn’t like what I am making he just makes his own food! Any time that I do create a weekly meal plan it is more centred around budgeting and how often I want to venture into town. Lately, I have felt stressed around making meals especially when trying to come up with meal and snack ideas. The cost of food is also increasing like crazy, the stuff I ususally buy anyway! So I cretainly don’t want to be wasting any food.
We eat about 99% of our meals at home for a few reasons with the main one being that my son has Celiac which makes it almost impossible to eat out anywhere. Also, eating out is super expensive and the food quality is just not there. This makes dialing in the food situation at home pretty important. We also live about 20 minutes from the nearest town that has a small grocery store (that doesn’t carry anything I buy) and 40 minutes from a major grocery store. I only like going to the grocery store once a week but try to hold out even longer if possible.
Anyway, enough ranting about me. I wanted to mention a few things that are helpful when it comes to meal planning. I have listed them below:
– Before preparing your meal plans you should take a food inventory of what is in the fridge. That way you can create meals that use up anything that is close to going bad.
-Plan atleast one meal that you can make in the slow cooker or instapot.
-Plan atleast one soup and a few salad ideas. This can be heated or prepared quickly if something comes up and you don’t have time to make anything else.
-I usually create a meal plan with 5 meals and then plan to have leftovers or fed for yourself nights for two nights of the week. This is a little easier to accomadate when you have older kids.
-Don’t forget to plan for snacks and breakfast!
-Plan at least one freezer meal each week. Basically for this I make a large batch of a meal so I can freeze a few portions. I do this more during the winter months so when the hectic days of farming arrive I don’t have to worry making as many meals each week.
I am sure there are more but that is all for now. I do want to mention that once I create my meal plan I am flexible with changing it if I happen to find a good deal on something at the grocery store.
When local produce os available or my own garden starts producing I definitely rely on that produce as much as possible because the price is right and it is so much better for us to eat locally in season than relying on produce shipped from other areas of the country/world. On that note, I also try to buy meat locally or in bulk (half a pig) which means I have a freezer full of meat going into the fall/winter. I enjoy eating meat however I do want to know that the animal was raised ethically and enjoyed their life befor sacrificing it for my family.