Last night I went on a bender of tallying up all my shortcomings — listing all the times I overindulged and underappreciated. When I finished, I moved on to my general thoughtlessness, selfishness and bad temper.
This morning I awoke with a shame hangover with only one cure.
Counting up the things I did right.
In 2014, I planned my meals every gosh dang week.
Here’s the post where I outlined the logic behind my meal planning — it is still mostly true. But I have a few more tips that made meal planning work even harder for me this year.
1. Publicity: Instagram helped. Making it public forced healthier decisions and a regular schedule. Join me, won’t you?
2. Veggie Box: We are active CSA participants – we signed up for Farm Fresh To You which delivers veggies to our door every Friday. If you’re in California, you can too – if you’re inclined, use the code HELE4346.
We’d originally cancelled our membership, we just couldn’t justify dumping so many uneaten veggies each week (Despite my attempts, I could get no toddlers to try turnips). But then, they introduced box customization. We can pick nearly exactly what we want in our box. We can also see the prices to compare with our local grocery store. This means that we’re getting healthy fruits and veggies we’re likely to eat, delivered to our door every week. For fruits and veggies in season, it’s cheaper than Safeway.
2. Scheduling: I pick a time for weekly grocery shopping and work backward from there. If I have an hour and a half late Saturday morning, I set aside 20 minutes before that to make my meal plan and shopping list. The meal plan and shopping list are two sides of the same piece of paper, so I remind myself what to get. I won’t shop more than once a week, so this saves us time and energy.
3. Better leftovers: We threw out a lot of food at the first half of the year — so I had to get better about planning meals with lunches in mind. I front-load the week with dinners that give good lunches and then we taper down the quantity, eating more leftovers as we get to Saturday.
Things that didn’t work for me
Amazon Subscribe and Save: I couldn’t justify the sinking feeling in my heart when I saw the gas, effort and waste that went into a regular delivery of paper towels and toilet paper.
Couponing: I do my best with the Safeway app — but I just don’t have the time or mental space to keep coupons straight.
Too Adventurous: We have space in our brains for no more than one brand new recipe a week. Pinterest makes this challenging, but for a family at this time in our lives, it’s best to stick with what we know.
I have a few hundred meal plans from over the years collected on Flickr if you want to see what we eat for dinner on the regular, peep and judge freely!
Happy meal planning to you!