Meal planning. We all say we’re gonna do it. We know we should. We know it will make our life easier in the long run, but dread that time spent thinking and planning it all out.
I personally have gone about this several different ways and they were all good for each season I used them (in other words, there’s no wrong way to go about it). When we were first married, we were on a strict Hamburger Helper meal plan (and the store brand, not the name brand) since we were both still in school and living in L.A. When we moved to a more affordable locale, I started to look into lower fat, more nutritious meals to make and somehow found Cooking Light Magazine. I subscribed started to pull out the recipes that sounded good and organized them by meat/course into a binder. Then I would go pick from those meals, plan the week (or two), make my lists, etc., etc. Well that became such a long process, especially after having kids. While visiting Dave Ramsey’s site, I saw an ad for eMeals and felt like $5 a month was WELL worth my sanity. They plan meals for you and make your grocery list in a way that is easy for you to cross off a meal you won’t need or don’t like. They have lots of meal options for large and small families so if that appeals to you, do check it out!
Upon looking to stay home, we were looking for as many ways to cut expenses as possible, so I went on the search again for meal planning help (FREE meal planning help). I stumbled upon SayMmm.com. Now, I have not done all the digging around this site to make me an expert but I will share with you what I’ve learned so far. Here is how it looks to plan for the week:
It takes a little work in the beginning and by that I mean, you have to enter in the recipes you want to use (or the ones you find online). You do that by copy/pasting the recipe, link & title, but then after you do that 1) It’s saved in your recipes and 2) it automatically makes a grocery list for that recipe. After you assign the recipes to days of the week on the Plan tab (you can plan breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks if you want!), just click on the shop tab and tell it which days on your plan you want to include on your list. Voila – a grocery list!
Divided by store location with a list of common kitchen items to check – you may already have them in your cupboard. You can also add any other items you need (like bread, eggs, milk, etc.) and it will remember your added items by keeping them in a section on future lists. You can click on those items to add them from then on out.
OH! Almost forgot to mention – once your list is made, you also have the option to log in from your smart phone and get a list like this:
which allows you to check things off as you grab them! SO GREAT!
So anyway – I did not mean this to be so long. If anyone’s interested, I’ll post my meal plans as I make them … with links to the recipes … in a far shorter post … promise.