Monday, June 23, 2014

Meal Planning & Grocery Shopping

Depending on the day or the week I either meal plan on Sunday or Monday. This week I am doing it all on Monday. That means making the menu for the week, a grocery list, going to the grocery store, and prepping some parts of our meals. (This week I chose things that don't require much prep work.)

This is pretty much how it always looks when I am trying to figure out what to fix.
Various sources for dinner and lunch.
This week my focus for meals was different than last week. Last week my focus was on a slim down but this week my focus is on getting meals on the table that keep Andrew liking our vegan diet. (After all it was his idea to kick this off!) :) If I don't keep a variety on our menu then we all get bored with what we are eating. It was the same way when we ate meat at home. I try not to only have salads for dinner (even though we will tonight) and to not cook the same meals all the time. Its easy to just cook the same things week after week no matter what your diet is. This week I'm trying 2 new recipes from the Oh She Glows Cookbook for dinner. I am also making something that we really like but haven't had in a long time. For lunch I am trying out 2 new recipes from the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan

Here is our menu for the week.
lunch: left overs
dinner: Walnut Pear Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

lunch: left salad
dinner: Tex-Mex Casserole

lunch: Lemon, Spinach, Chickpea Salad
dinner: Veggie Burgers with creamy avocado potato salad

lunch: Kale Salad
dinner: Quick & Easy Chana Masala

lunch: left overs
dinner: Tone It Up Super Salad and Grilled Mushrooms

I don't plan out meals for the weekends typically but some weekends I do. Most Saturdays and Sundays for lunch I plan to use whatever leftovers we have in the fridge so that we don't waste a ton of food. (I also normally have one night each week that is for left overs.) It's also more fun for Andrew and I to cook together on the weekends so we figure out what to make together. I plan 5 days of meals and it seems like we always end up eating out one of those days so I adjust and make a week day scheduled meal on the weekend. This menu is flexible because that is what works best for us. 

Grocery shopping is sometimes my favorite thing and least favorite thing to do. I pretty much always take Blake with me. (The bakery at every grocery store gives kids a cookie.) We use this time as a learning experience and it's fun as long as he is being an agreeable three year old. I have a few things that I always buy when I go to the grocery store and most weeks my list looks pretty close to the same. 
My staples are:
strawberries (when in season)
bell peppers
original unsweetened almond milk
apples (when not outrageous)

Menu and grocery list this week.

**In case you were wondering what kinds of learning takes place with B while we are grocery shopping here are a few things we do. First off he learns what different fruits and vegetables look like. We use the scale to weigh our items and he tells me the number the arrow is pointing to. I explained to him, and sometimes explain again, that the scale at the grocery store is like the scale we stand on at the doctors office but this one is for food. It tells us how much things weigh. I have him pick out different vegetables for me to practice counting and getting me the correct number of items. We are learning not to grab things from the bottom of a pile but the top instead. He is also learning to use his manners with other people. I'm sure there are a lot more things that he is learning but those are the ones that come to mind right now.**

Here's a look at my grocery haul from a few weeks ago. We had no food in our house before this trip!
Photo from my workout Instagram account.
Here's an idea to test the necessity of the things you are purchasing at the grocery store. Take cash and only the approximate amount that your groceries for the week should cost. I did this last week, not because I wanted to but because I left my wallet with my debit card in Andrews car. It helped me stay focused and not buy unnecessary things. I took $160 with me and spent less than that. I have decided that I should really do this every week. It made me more conscious of how much I was paying for things and made me stick more strictly to my grocery list. If I continue to do this I feel we will waste less food and money for that matter! 

Happy shopping and meal planning friends!

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