Meal Planning

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FruitsLet’s talk meal planning. Throughout this article I am going to talk about tips and tricks that help my family with our weekly meal planning. Please keep in mind these may not be as useful for your family.

Sunday comes around and I open my computer with a blank word document and I go to some of my favorite websites that have recipes for my family. One of my all-time favorite sites is thewholecook.com. The recipes generally fit most diets and they are so delicious. In my work document, I list out the days of the week depending on what night I want to start my meals for and go from there. COVID-19 has made grocery shopping a little challenging, so I have to get creative. I like to choose recipes that can be altered if certain ingredients are out of stock. I also like to choose recipes based on what I have going on that night. If it’s going to be a late night, I pick certain recipes that can be thrown together quickly. Try to find recipes that go along with items you have in your pantry. Some of my pantry favorites are: jasmine rice, whole-wheat pasta, broth (chicken, beef or vegetable), beans, tomato paste, and sauce. As I am creating my grocery list for the week, I try to incorporate my pantry staples, this saves me money. When looking at recipes, I look for recipes that will make enough for lunch the next day. After I have my nightly meals planned out, I think about breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Do you know why it is called breakfast? Because you are breaking the fast from the night before. I try to find recipes to throw together quickly so I can get out of the door and to work. Once I am done planning meals, I start creating my list that I will take with me to the store, making sure I don’t put anything on there I don’t truly need. Creating a list helps me focus on buying the things I need and only the things I need. Sales can be daunting for me, I try to take a step back and ask myself, “will this last me a while?”. The reason I ask this question is to make sure that I am not buying something that is not going to last and will end up being thrown away.

These are tips and tricks that help me stay focused on my weekly meals. These might not work for you like they work for me. I have met some families who would rather shop every 2-3 days. If that is something that seems more reasonable for your family give it a try. If I can provide anymore assistance, please reach out, my email is pebruce@ncsu.edu.