I had an epiphany recently. See, for years and years, when I grocery shopped, I just threw stuff in the cart and hoped it all turned into cohesive meals once we got it all home. I never made lists, and we had a habit of eating the same few meals over and over because that’s what I grabbed. And we got sick of those things- so we ate out way more than we really should (or can afford).
We generally shop twice a month because we get paid twice a month. I’ve been trying to teach the girls that if they eat all the yogurt the first two days, they won’t have any for the next week and a half. We will grab a few things halfway through when we run out- like milk- but in general it’s just the two big shops.
I wanted to try a few things I’d found on Pinterest, so I actually made a list for our beginning of the month grocery trip to ensure I had the items I needed. And while I was making the list, I wrote down other dinners I wanted to have. I tacked that up to the fridge, and we cooked from that list of meals. My shopping trip was more expensive than usual, BUT at the end of the two weeks, I realized we really didn’t eat out at all. And even better, we were happy to be eating at home because it wasn’t the same old things.
I’d tried the meal planning before, but never BEFORE shopping, and just with our old staples. We were so stuck in a rut with the same few dinners that we didn’t stick to it, and often even if we’d planned to eat a certain meal at home, we’d opt to go out because we didn’t feel like it.
So here is some of what is on the menu for the next two weeks: (the ones with the * are new recipes I haven’t tried yet)
- Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes w/Gravy
- BBQ Chicken Sandwiches & Macaroni Salad
- Sour Cream & Bacon Crock Pot Chicken over Egg Noodles*
- Chili & Rice
- Calzone Rolls*
- Pot Roast
- Chicken & Spinach Rolls
- Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki*
- Pasta w/Meat Sauce & Texas Toast
Last time, I saw acorn squash at the commissary and grabbed two. I’d remembered liking it when I was little and my mom made it, but it’d been probably decades since I had it. Aaron said he’d never tried it, and I knew none of the kids had either. I baked it up and everyone devoured it, so this time I grabbed 3. I’m not sure what meal I’ll make it with, but I can’t wait to have it again.
We of course bought a few of the old standby meals that the kids love, like mac & cheese, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, tater tots. But they’ve been great about eating new foods, so they’re going to keep getting them.
When you shop, do you plan out meals ahead of time? Make a list? Or just throw what looks good in the cart?