Thursday, March 22, 2012

Meal Planning 101

Meal planning is something that plagues every mom from time to time. We all have different methods to approach meal planning and I find it very helpful to get ideas from other moms to make my own planning easier. Today I am pleased to bring you my first guest blogger: Mae from Strive for Progress. She is going to bring you a series of posts to help you in your own meal planning (and use some of the recipes you've read right here!!). Take it away, Mae!

What an honor to be writing for Leslie! We have been friends for many years now and I have always admired her leadership and motivation skills. I have appreciated getting to know her and now getting to read her fun and inspiring blog! Thank you for letting me guest post Leslie!

Meal Planning 101
How many times do you get to 5:00 pm and wonder “what is for dinner?!” with a gurgle in your belly you tour your kitchen. Your eyes scan frozen chicken, leftover pancakes, a rotting cucumber... then you hear the dreaded “MOMMY I’M HUNGRY!”. This is the moment you smack your forehead and say, if only I would have thought about dinner this morning. Begrudgingly you grab the phone and speed dial your local pizza shop, “the usual”....
Does this happen to you very often? Would you like to avoid the dinnertime scramble? Well you are at the right place! It doesn’t matter if you are a single person or have a good sized family, you need a plan for meals every week! Without a plan you will spend more money either ordering out or buying items at the store that you do not end up using. Not planning for meals wastes time, I can’t tell you how many times I have spent the five o’clock hour wandering my cupboards and fridge 'til I finally figure out what I am going to make and then two hours later it’s finally on the table ready to eat. Your nutrition suffers when you do not plan what to eat, it’s not easy to eat a healthy meal if you haven’t planned for it.
When you plan for meals you save money by having a list and knowing exactly what you are going to purchase, it helps you to avoid impulse buying. Planning ahead gives you a chance to look at your grocery circular and coupons to plan your menu according to sales. Planning saves time, when you know what you are making for dinner you have time to prepare for it, for example if you are using chicken in one nights meal you can grab it out of the freezer and thaw it. You can prep your fruits and veggies days or hours in advance. You can even use my favorite kitchen gadget, the crock-pot! When you know you are making a crock-pot meal your stuff is in the pot and will be ready come dinner time! Your meal plan will give you the power to plan healthier and more nutritious food for your family. Meal planning is a win win situation! Plan your meals and you will for sure save money, time and your health!

Now that I have convinced you that you need to plan your meals I want you to follow a few steps for the next three weeks.

Week One...
Sit down and look at how your family’s week works. How does your family schedule work? Is there a day or two that are famous in your house for ordering take out? How about mornings? Does everyone in your family eat breakfast? Basically I want you to sit down with your calendar and figure out when you need quick and easy meals and when you can take some time with your meals. Observe your family this week and see who is eating what and when.
Week Two...
Ask your family for food feedback. What do they want for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Do they have favorites, are they sick of a meal you have been making over and over? Get feed back from them, even if you have little kids you can ask them for this input, they know what they like and don’t like. I also want you to try ONE new recipe this week  and make enough for leftovers. I am going to suggest a big pot of soup and muffins. Eat it for dinner and then eat it the next day for lunch or dinner. YES eat your leftovers! Soup and muffins are excellent in breaking yourself and your family in for leftovers. Soup only enhances in taste as it sits and muffins are still soft the next day!
Week Three...
Get ahold of your local store’s circulars and look on the interest for some coupons. If your store has an internet site they most likely have an email list and links for specials and coupons. Once you see what they have on special go search a few places like,, and for some ideas on what meals to make. You can use the search boxes on those sites, plug in one of the items you want that are on sale and see what the search turns up for you. Plan an minimum of THREE meals this week.

I will be back after these three weeks and give you the steps you need to create meal plans with ease. Once you finish this meal plan “course” you will be a pro and never have to deal with the 5:00 meal crisis again! Okay now go get busy! I am breaking this down to make it very easy for you. I look forward to meeting you here in three weeks! Have a great day and Strive For Progress!

Mae is the writer and owner of At Strive
For Progress Mae aims to inspire and motivate people in everyday life.
She lives in the USA with her highschool sweetheart Mike, three
beautiful kiddlets, a lovable Great Dane and a crazy tabby cat!

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