Some of you have been asking me about my meal planning and prep secrets. To be real honest I really don't have any. But I will share with you what I have been doing.
First you want to find meals that are simple and have similar ingredients, this cut down on how much you'll be spending. Write them down, I usually plan meals for 4 days each week and leave one day for leftovers.
Here are list of a few site where you can get a meal planning printables:
The Taylor House
And of course Pinterest has a bigger list to help you out.
Next make your list of the ingredients that you need. I usually only shop every other week for everything I need, which also includes my household items. I've never been able to do shopping once a week.
Now go shopping! I used to shop sales and use coupons, but have realized that the coupons are for things that I would never buy. I have found that my local Winco has great deals on food and produce. They already price match for you which is very helpful when trying to compare items.
After your shopping is done, this is when you need to start getting things put together. I used to be really bad about this, I would just put things away and deal with the meals on the day I need them. that led to me not having time to make dinner and didn't want to do it when I got home from work. So now I try to make sure my kitchen is clean so I have space to work with. I have my son put away the things that I don't need so that it saves me time. This time around I actually enlisted his help for prepping, which cut my time down by an hour.
Once I have sorted through my groceries I can start. I start with the snack bags. I wash and cut the fruits and veggies and put them into the snack size bags. I found this storage container at Target that helps keep them visible in the fridge.
As you can see from my picture above I have 2 of them. I use one for the fruits and the other for the veggies.
Okay, fruits and veggies are cut and put away I start working on the dinner meals. I read through my recipes that I have selected and put things together into freezer gallon bags. I make sure that as I close them that the air is squeezed out. I've noticed that with the constant opening and closing of bags the food goes bad faster because they are constantly being exposed. Once they are sealed in the bags you won't open until needed which will keep them fresh longer. That was one of the questions I was being asked, Yes the food will last up to 2 weeks if the bags are never opened. Oh don't forget to label your bags so you know what meals they're for. If you have meat season them with your marinades, after a week of soaking in them they become very savory when you cook them. mmm
I used to do the freezer meals but I get lazy and forget to pull them out the night before to defrost to put them in crockpot. Or I get lazy and don't want to wash the crockpot to be ready for the next meal. This method of having the food fresh seems to be working for me.
Now that I have the dinner meals ready to go. I start working on my lunches. Recently my hubby and I have been eating salads for lunch. I been doing the salad in a jar and it have become very handy to grab one and go. The last 2 weeks I made quart sized jars but I couldn't finish them, but they were perfect for my husband, so this time around I made pint size for me and quart size for my husband. Surprisingly enough they do last 2 weeks.
Next time I will be making yogurt parfaits for breakfast. My son has expressed interest in having them for his breakfast.
So that about sums up my meal planning and prep. By doing this I have been saving money on groceries.