Thursday, February 23, 2017

52 Weeks to an Organized Home: Healthy Meal Planning and Creating a Grocery Shopping List (Week 8)

This week for the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home, the focus is on healthy meal planning and creating a grocery shopping list.

There are a lot of helpful tips on that site. Some of them, I already follow and others are good reminders of things I should be doing.

One of the ideas, and which I did this week when planning meals, is based on the idea from the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home which suggested, as a way to save money and not waste the food on hand, is to first take stock of what we had have in refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, and try to use as many of those ingredients as possible.

I set up a preliminary meal plan from this week until the second week of March. Each of the days is listed on the left hand side and then I divide the page into three columns: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Some days/meals have more items in them if there are a couple of recipes that I'm using. Some meals don't have anything listed or are rather sparse (e.g., applesauce). For those meals, I'm anticipating using leftovers.

One of the cookbooks that we'll be using over the next few weeks is Olivia's Five in a Row Cookbook. She's been working on it for several years now. Each of the books in the Five in a Row curriculum have suggested recipes along with space to put photos. It's been a nice way to visually remember all the recipes she's made - as well as see how she's grown over the years.

The boxes next to the recipes are what photos that need to be taken and the direction (either a vertical photo or horizontal photo).

So, for the upcoming few weeks, rather than making a lot of new recipes using ingredients I didn't have on hand, I inventoried what was in the freezers and refrigerator, and created a meal plan around that. Many of the Five in a Row recipes use what we have on hand which is good.

By doing that, I easily saved more than half of what I normally spend on groceries. As the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home website notes, "This isn't about deprivation, this is just about using what you have more consciously."

My goal this spring is to use up the food I have on hand and start fresh by the summer. Back in December, Sophia and I got rid of a lot of food - either donating it to the food bank or throwing it out (if it had expired) in preparation for her "16 Sweet Things" for her 16th birthday project.

This freed up a lot of room in cupboards and freezer which was nice. Now, any new purchases are easy to find and are used within a couple of weeks.

Another idea - as we get closer to Summer is to look at the ingredients that we have on hand, and get creative with how we can use them to make a meal. The goal would be to make as many meals that we can using the items that already are in our cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer.

Preparing a Grocery List

One of the things we've started doing this past year is having a white-board on the refrigerator. When we run out of something, we add it to the list. This idea was from one of the CNAs who used to care for my Mom. The CNAs and personal care attendants would add items they needed to the list. Then either my sister or I would purchase those items when we were visiting my Mom.

So, n the past, I've written grocery lists in my notebook. On Tuesday, I took the time to create a shopping list based on the aisles at Wal-Mart and the direction that I go through the store when shopping there.

It was a bit time-consuming to do this - both the trip through the store writing down the items as well as typing them into a list. However, now I have a two-page customized shopping list that I can transfer the items from the white-board onto before I go shopping.

Once I'm at the store, it will be much more efficient and less time-consuming since I'll have the list of items I need in the order that they are in the store.

Because of this weekly challenge, I'm getting things in my life significantly more organized and streamlined than they have been. I'm also providing a good model for Sophia and Olivia who can learn some of these ideas and use them when they are adults.

1 comment:

Angie Church said...

love that you have that so organized. I often make up meal plans but I am not as organized when it comes to shopping I so wish I was would save so much time
come see us at