Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Week Ahead: Staying dedicated to preparing meals at home

Last weekend, my dear friend Laura and I were at Walmart (that place is so much more tolerable with a friend) and we both spent even more than usual for our weekly groceries.  She had read that families our age spend $70 per week on groceries.  Seventy.  We would starve if we only spent that.  I think there are two reasons for this A)  people eat out way too much and B) if they are eating at home, they are probably eating way too much processed food.  I did not grow up eating out at restaurants very often, so that never has been my habit, and I am very thankful for that.  However, sometimes I still have to remind myself why we eat at home (mostly financial reasons and also for our health) and then use some of the below tips to keep up my dedication to cooking at home.

Staying dedicated to preparing meals at home

1.  Make friends with your slow cooker.  In under 10 minutes, you can throw a completely balanced meal into the thing to cook and it is ready when you get home.  Plus, when it is time to eat 8 hours later, you tend to forget it was you who prepared it in the first place.
2.  Search for recipes and work on your meal plan throughout the week.  It is so much more fun to browse leisurely throughout the week, rather than scrambling on Sunday night.
3.  Plan ahead and shop accordingly.  A meal plan is a must and then make your grocery list accordingly.  When everything is there sitting in the fridge, there are no excuses. 
4.  Get as much ready on the weekend that you can.  Spend an hour or so to chop veggies, move meat to the fridge to thaw, etc.
5.  Plan nights out.  Somehow having a night out planned (even if it is just to Chipotle) gives you something to look forward to and makes you much less likely to randomly decide to hit up fast food or a restaurant during the week.
6.  Make a food budget.  It is hard to argue with the numbers.  Eating at home is so much cheaper.
7.  Set a routine.  Make a night to grill out (I put Husband in charge of dinner these nights), Monday night meatza (why is pizza so comforting on Monday nights?), seafood night, entree salad night.  Having a few of these nights a week can alleviate a lot of the stress of meal planning.
8.  Keep things simple.  Every meal doesn't have to be a masterpiece.  Some nights, you just have to eat.  Meat + veggie = meal.  Preferably with some spices thrown in there.
9.  Have a fallback.  Have 1-2 meals that your family loves and you can throw together if you don't know what else to make.  This is mine.
10.  Make it semi-homemade.  Bringing home a rotisserie chicken and having a side salad makes a nice well rounded meal that is still affordable and healthy.

What I will be making for the week:

Breakfasts:  I made Tom some breakfast sausage sliders and I plan to have leftovers spinach souffles (I somehow majorly screwed these up, by the way).

Lunches:  tuna salad once or twice and leftovers the rest of the time.

Sunday:  cleaning out the fridge and freezer night.  Somehow, we have accumulated lots of leftovers lately.
Monday:  Grilled Hawaiian burgers + Caribbean side salad
Tuesday:  Crockpot pork green chile
Wednesday:  Jambalaya (I am going to make with shrimp and sausage)
Thursday:  Cauliflower crust pizza + oven roasted veggies
Friday:  Arkansas Dermatological Society State Meeting dinner
Saturday:  Date night!

Have a great week, everyone!


1 comment:

  1. Love love love this! I make meal plans every week, but at least one to two nights a week I get lazy and we end up eating out! Eating out happens to be my favorite, so it has been really hard for me to give up, but we have a new baby that makes eating out virtually impossible! She knows exactly when the food is delivered to the table to start crying! Thanks for the tips!