I must admit that last Sunday when I decided to attempt Meal Planning for the week I totally half-assed it. I had a few recipes I wanted to try but I really didn’t put more than 10 minutes of thought in the planning of it. I honestly didn’t really know HOW. As you’ve read this week it did not go well. The plan wasn’t good, I went to the grocery store more than I should have, and it caused Michael and I to bicker all week long about DINNER. How lame is that? If a couple is going to argue over something it should be something more significant for God’s sake.
Michael and I sat down Saturday afternoon and discussed Meal Planning and how we want to do it. This time was much better. Michael expressed his frustration with me that I didn’t include him in the original plan. Fair enough. I explained that I only halfheartedly tried to plan it and that’s why I didn’t talk to him about it. That was remedied Saturday when we talked.
Michael explained that his sole desire to Meal Plan is to cut down on our trips to the grocery store. AGREED. Nothing sucks more than a long day at work, then off to the gym, only to realize you have to go to the grocery store before you can fix dinner. I do that too often and it frustrates me as well. He’s also reading the book “The 4-Hour Body” right now and he’s agreeing with a lot of the concepts (but that’s another post for another day).
My boyfriend is a man who knows me well. He knows I love PLANS and LISTS and something visual so he came up with an Excel spreadsheet that we talked about and added to together.
Hopefully that’s not too small to read. The column on the top is the type of protein or base of whatever meal we want to cook. The column on the left side is how we can prepare it. Making things “Mexican” is easy and inexpensive (and I love Mexican food and crave it more than any other kind). For example, if on a Tuesday night we want to make ground Turkey that we have on hand we can either make them into Turkey Burgers or cook the ground turkey and make a Mexican Salad or tacos.
Michael also told me that he has a desire to eat mainly Fiber and Protein and avoid things like corn, bread of all kind, sugar, etc. I will also admit that this topic elevated my blood pressure a little bit. We had a healthy debate about the subject matter. I told him I fully support him in any way he wants to get healthy or lose weight but that I was happy with how my plan is going and I didn’t want to cut out things I love (like a glass of wine, ice cream or BREAD) entirely from my diet. I’ve come TOO far and learned TOO much in my journey to start eliminating things drastically from my diet. I am happy with how I eat and I am happy with the moderation I show.
We agreed to eat the same proteins and fibers but if there was some side dish I wanted to eat with them I’d be on my own. For example: the pork and broccoli we had last week was the perfect meal (and what Michael wants to start eating more) but he would have skipped the couscous. Me? I’m eating that couscous! It just means that I need to learn how to make things like that as a half portion instead of a full.
After our debate and philosophical conversation where I talked about my feeeeeelings we moved on to Meal Planning for the coming week. The above graph is pretty self-explanatory. The Saturday post was really about last night.
First we talked about what we were doing the upcoming week and which nights I was going to the gym after work (that dictates what kind of food I want and how much time we have to cook before I’m a raving monster saying “FEEEED MEEE!”). We started with the proteins for each day. The only thing generic was Thursday with “fish” but we figured that out later.
After we decided what we wanted we looked at a few recipes I had printed out and filled in the blanks. Tuesday night’s chicken dinner is a recipe I found on the Real Simple website. I requested that we space out the meat proteins a little bit so that it isn’t so meat-heavy every day. I think this will be a good way to plan our weekly meals.
After we figured out the proteins he wrote down the ingredients we’d need to get at the store (some of which we already had on hand). We geared up and hit three stores on Saturday evening. Of course if was the day before Superbowl Sunday so everywhere was PACKED and chaotic.
First stop was Costco. Grabbed a few staples we needed and Michael also got a huge amount of ground turkey. The ground turkey is good because we were making tacos with them, plus Michael pre-makes the turkey burgers and freezes them (easy meal on a weeknight). I also grabbed a bag of frozen shrimp.
Next stop was Fred Meyer for the bulk of the produce, the small serving of steak and chicken. The last stop was to Safeway because the avocados at Fred Meyer weren’t ripe enough.
Total spent: $140 or so. The great news? We have enough turkey to last us probably 2 months.
But that’s for weeks of frozen options: ground turkey, salmon, shrimp, bratwursts. I think we did well! Michael spent about 45 minutes making half of the ground turkey into turkey burger patties and then put them in the freezer. That will be an easy meal for maybe even a month or two.
Now that we have an organized plan listed out and we’re on the same page I’m actually excited for this Meal Planning thing. I think it will be much more successful, easier, and more of a fun thing than the stressful-mess it was last week.
QUESTION: How many times a week do you go to the grocery store and on average how much do you spend?