Home > food preparation, plan > Spending Less and Eating Healthier: Part 1 of 3

Spending Less and Eating Healthier: Part 1 of 3

January 9th, 2012

Meal Planning

Even if you did not make a resolution, I would bet many of you are thinking about spending less or eating healthier. The best way to do both at the same time is to use a menu and a shopping list.

I know planning menus sounds complicated, but it isn’t bad if you keep it simple.   There are many ways to plan meals, so just experiment to see what works for you.

Here is an easy way to get started creating some menus:

1.  On index cards or sheets of notepaper write down the main dish for meals you currently eat.  Involve as many members of your household as you can in this step.

2.  Go back and add foods you usually have with that main dish.  Check to see if you have something from each food group (protein, fruits, vegetables, grain, dairy) If not, fill in and make adjustments.If you have seven or more meals using this process, that is great.  You have enough for a week of planned meals and you can now create a shopping list.If you did not have 7 meals think what you would like to have.  Remember, keep it simple.  This is not the time to start paging through cookbooks, magazines or surfing the internet.  What about making extra one night and using it for another meal (like cooking 2 # of ground beef one night and making chili  from half of it and then using the other half or homemade pizza or sloppy joes; using your crockpot,  making a meatless meal, or breakfast for dinner.

3.  Save your menu cards and add to them as you go.  Then thinking of what to have will not be such a chore.

Next week: the grocery list

Here are some other resources and methods for menu planning with more details:

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  1. Jennifer
    | #1

    Thanks for this post! This is one of my resolutions this year!

  2. | #2

    I like to use a service called e-mealz to do something similar to this. It gives you a selection of meals for the week, and after you choose which meals you want to prepare, it creates your shopping list for you. It even bases the meals around what’s on sale at a particular grocery store.

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