Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Why and how I menu plan


Life around our house is ever moving. There is always something to be done, something to be cleaned, re-arranged, replaced. Or there is always somewhere to be.

I'm a 24 year old mother and wife. I also work full time while maintaining our home. First and foremost I am a mother. Our daughter was born November 27th, 2007. My husband and I have been together since September 18, 2001 and married since January 7, 2006. After our daughter's birth I gained 68 pounds. Not good. I had to do something about it. Along with the guidance of a doctor, I have been able to change the way I eat and lose weight. In one year, I've lost 51 pounds. It's hard and I'm not going to lie - I miss eating cupcakes and brownies. But healthy food doesn't have to be tasteless.

I'm an insurance agent who sits at my desk from 7am until 3pm Monday through Friday. But I also am a consultant for Tastefully Simple ( I love Tastefully Simple products and they help my boring, healthy food taste good.

Since I am gone from 6am until 4pm each day, I would often get stressed out about making dinner. I found us stuck in a rut of eating the same 4 things and then left overs, take out, or eating out the other 3 days. Not to mention breakfast and lunch on the weekends. So I decided to take control and pre-plan everything.


I plan once every two weeks and think of menus to use. Often I will think of a meal we haven't had in a while when I'm at work, in the car, where ever and I just jot it down on a piece of paper and stick it in my purse [along with the other two million things in my purse]. Otherwise I just have a blank paper and start writing down things to eat. I have two weeks worth of calendar printed out. (I use this one - I assign our dinner meals for Monday through Friday and then breakfast and dinner for Saturday and Sunday. Lunch is kind of whatever-goes-goes. Now, just because I have a certain meal assigned to a certain day, doesn't mean we have to have it on that day. I'm totally flexible. Then I check the fridge, freezer, and pantry to see what I have in stock and what needs to be purchased. I make my grocery list and check for coupons. Then I shop! I try to buy local for produce and such. And I have saved a ton of money by growing mint, parsley, basil, oregano, sage, and chives on my own this year. I look to expand my garden next year.

Word to the wise: do not go grocery shopping when you are hungry. You will buy useless foods that end up getting tossed out or lots of junk food.

If there are some things that can be prepped a night ahead, I do that while I'm cooking today's meal. Getting ahead is essential since I feel like I am eternally washing dishes, laundry, wiping butts noses messes up, tidying up, and cooking.

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