I am horrible at planning. Really, really horrible. I also work in retail, which means I have an extremely variable work schedule, and that just overwhelms me trying to plan around.
However, I have come to realize that I can save my family a lot of money by PLANNING MEALS, and actually cooking them.
I went through a phase where I was cooking about 4 days of brown rice at once and keeping it in the fridge, but again, that takes planning.
I guess I should first ask, how do you go about developing the habit of planning? And do any of you work with retail shifts, and if so, how do you work around it?
Any suggestions I could try would be very helpful.
I grocery shop once a week. On that day I sit down with my notebook paper & a coupla cook books. I peruse the books & ask the kids what they're in the mood for this week. On the right hand side of the paper I write down the meal & the page# the recipe's on. On the left side of the paper I write down my grocery list, including of course anything the recipe calls for that I don't have.
Then I shop! Then each day/night when it's time to make a meal, I pull out my list (I keep it folded in the cupboard next to the cook books) & scan the list of meals I chose & pick which one I'm in the mood for.
The biggest trouble I ever have is when I somehow lose my list after I shop! Then I forget what I heck I bought all those ingredients for!!
North Idaho rural living mama to: 22 yo DD, 15 yo DS, 8 yo DS, 6 yo DS, 4 yr old DS, 2 yo DD, and 1 yo DS. And someone new coming this Christmas!
She does use a lot of meat, and while she doesn't use processed food, there's a lot more stuff than I usually cook with (like taco seasoning which has a lot of additives in it).
I did it for about a year & it helped me tremendously. Some of the recipes were great, some ok, a few I'd never do again, but overall it gave me a good sense of what to do for meal planning, and I'm sooo much better at it now. I still rely on the book when things are bit crazy & i don't have time to plan & I still use quite a few of the recipes.
IIRC, there's also a website. I'll see if I can dig it up.
Then there are times when my husband goes to the store and buys all kinds of random foods, with no idea what to do with them (he can't even cook!) So that's when I use my second planning method, which is to go through the pantry and freezer and try to plan meals around all the random ingredients that are already in there. That takes time though, because I have to go through all the cookbooks, make out the list, keep track of which cookbook and which page the recipe is on, etc. But it keeps food from going to waiste.
Planning for the week in advance helps me with my variable schedule b/c I can think about what kind of week I'm going to have and choose meals that can work around my schedule. Like, quick meals, slow cooker meals, whatever.
Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!