Following a meal plan

I received a comment on Facebook from Robert yesterday after posting my meal plan. He said “I’ve found making a plan and actually following it come at different levels of difficulty.” I think he’s completely right. It’s easy to put things down on paper, but sometimes following through is a bit more difficult.

I try to keep that in mind when building my meal plan. First, I look at our schedules to see what we have planned for the month. Since Jeff and I are both involved in a lot of different things, I need to make sure our meal plan follows suit. Last Saturday, we went to a book signing around lunch time and went grocery shopping after that. So I planned for a big breakfast and a quick dinner, that way we wouldn’t be tempted to get food while we were out. I also teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I don’t get home until about 5:30. The last thing I want to do is spend an hour making dinner after getting home. I make sure all Tuesday and Thursday dinners can get on the table in 30 minutes or less.

When planning, I try to make sure I have a few dinners that don’t require any defrosting. In this week’s plan, none of my dinners require defrosting ahead of time. Even the tacos for Wednesday’s dinner are made with hamburger I cooked as soon as I got it home and froze in 3/4 pound servings. Wednesday night all I have to do is put the precooked hamburger in the microwave to defrost it. This saves a ton of time and requires very little planning.

I always check the menu plan while making dinner to see if there is anything I need to pull out of the freezer for the next night’s meal. This ensures that things are ready for tomorrow night. Next Monday we are having pork chops for dinner so I’ll make sure to pull those out of the freezer on Sunday night when I’m making dinner.

My meal plan also has a lot of flexibility to it. The order I place things in is just a guideline. Just because I have things listed on a certain day doesn’t mean I can’t mix things up a bit. Don’t feel locked down by your meal plan.

I think things go much more smoothly around the house when I do a meal plan because I’m not rushing around at the last minute trying to figure out what to make. I have a few options that I can mix up if I need to and most of my meals require little advanced thought. We are much more likely to eat at home when I know what I have in the house.

Are you having trouble following your meal plan? Have you had recent success building a plan?

Grocery shopping and meal planning

I’m really frugal when it comes to grocery shopping. We are lucky to have a large side-by-side refridgerator and a stand-up freezer. I purchase a lot of things when they are on a super sale. The sales haven’t been that great for a while, with the increased cost of groceries, but I’m still trying to stick to my budget: $75 every two weeks for two adults, including lunches each day for my husband, Jeff. He takes leftovers every day and I scrounge up whatever I can find.