Thursday, February 28, 2013

Meal planning

Feeding seven people everyday doesn't just happen.
Feeding seven people everyday on a budget certainly doesn't just happen.
It all takes a great deal of planning!
Budgeting, price book, lists and meal plans. It takes work!
I think the most important one of those to saving money and sanity is meal planning.
In my family binders food section I have printed out weekly calendars. On each one, I plan out our meals for the week. How do I go about this task?
First of all breakfast!
Sunday is always cold cereal. Wednesday is always oatmeal.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday we rotate pancakes and scrambled eggs. Occasionally we do french toast if we have some bread that needs used up.
Lunch.... well, we don't do lunch really.
We have a large snack.
Yogurt, fruit, raw veggies, cheese sticks, lunch meat, hard boiled eggs and sometimes pretzels or crackers are available for everyone to pick from during snack time. The kids usually have a bit of everything while I have a salad topped with some left overs.
Dinner is where I really reign the budget in and the real planning happens.
First, I look at the schedule. If we have a crazy day going on, crock pot is probably the best bet. If we don't have much going on that day (at least by our standards) one of our much loved more complex meals can be thrown in the mix!
Second, look at what we have! What's coming in from the garden? What's in the freezer? What's already on hand?
I tend to sock up on whole chickens and ground turkey when they are on good sale.
Third, what's on sale now?
Some basic rules of feeding the masses that I employ to cut costs.....
One meatless meal each week.
One rice based meal each week.
Potatoes as a side at least 2 times a week.
No red meat, only chicken and turkey with occasional bacon or sausage.
Buy in bulk.
Stock up when you find a good sale.
Little to no processed snack foods.
Currently our grocery budget is $600.
The goal is to cut it down to $400.
I'm going to cut meat two more times a week, continue to hunt for bean recipes we enjoy and resume making our bread. Plus, the garden and chickens and goats!!!
One thing we do that is not budget friendly, is that we eat mostly organic. This is one thing where I believe that the extra expense is worth it. Organic foods are more regulated, I have a hard time with the idea that consuming pesticides and other chemicals is safe, I tried the switch out of desperation when Dakota was diagnosed with numerous food allergies and asthma, which I have seen real improvement in!

No comments:

Post a Comment