28 Weeks
Be present at work

Wanted: A better meal planning system


My lack of a system for meal planning and grocery shopping has been bugging me for awhile. Despite loving to cook and even to do the grocery shopping (I love shopping at Trader Joe’s) I haven’t found a good rhythm that consistently works for us. Although the grocery shopping gets done and we eat a healthy diet I’d enjoy having a system in place so that I can consistently try new recipes, don’t waste ingredients from meals we don’t make and have a way to keep track of our go-to recipes favorites.

Here’s what our current routine looks like:

+ On Sundays I make a grocery list with input from Chris. Chris would happily do the grocery list and shopping…if I let him. It’s just that I’m a teensy bit of a control freak and I do really enjoy going shopping. I try to think up one or two meals to get ingredients for, usually just off the top of my head or I flip through cookbooks or an Everyday Food magazine.

+ In addition to any meal ingredients I buy our “staples” which include produce (we also get a weekly Chow Locally box), steamed lentils, whole wheat bread and English muffins, Greek yogurt, almond milk, cereal and some type of dessert like frozen yogurt or mochi. I’ll also try to pick up some healthy snacks like dried fruit or popcorn.

+ For dinners most nights we’ll just kind of “wing” something by cooking up some of our fresh produce or by eating leftovers. On Sundays I try to make a big soup or other dish that we can eat for lunches throughout the week. One or two nights we might make a more proper meal if I bought ingredients for a recipe.

+ Some nights Chris will get home before me and just eat cereal for dinner because he hadn’t had time to eat lunch and can’t wait for dinner. Then I don’t feel like cooking a whole meal just for me. Sometimes we’ll make it through the week without having had a chance to make a meal I bought ingredients for, argh!

+ Lunches and breakfast aren’t much of an issue. We usually eat cereal for breakfast and sometimes mix it up with a protein smoothie. Lately I’ve been eating a fried egg sandwich instead of cereal for extra protein. I always take my lunch to work and usually take yogurt, a couple of pieces of fruit, leftovers or a pb&j on a whole wheat English muffin and sometimes a homemade muffin if I made some on the weekend.

+ We also frequently have evening commitments. Currently we have our birth classes Monday nights, I have spin class Wednesday and Friday evenings and Chris often has an evening work engagement at least one night a week. Right now I don’t take our busyness into consideration when planning meal and I definitely should be doing that.

So, that’s our situation right now. I feel like there's so much room for improvement. I’m really motivated to establish a better routine that works for us before our baby arrives. I know we’ll be even busier with a little one but eating healthy and having family dinners will be even more important. I’ve been surveying some of my girl friends to find out what works for their families and brainstorming some ideas that might work for Chris and me. Next week I’ll share the ideas I’ve come up with!