Every Sunday, I do my best to set time aside for meal planning. We all have crazy busy weeks that aren’t always the same from one week to the next. Because of that fact, we tend to go for convenience come mealtime. Although convenience is a good thing at times, it can also burn a damn hole in your pocket book. I remember once tallying up what I spent on restaurants and take out for a month and the number shocked me into orbit….. $700! Fuck THAT!
After reading Cooked by Michael Pollan and watching the series “Cooked“ on Netflix, my belief in getting into the kitchen became stronger than ever. No one ever cooks at home anymore! Convenience has won everyone over. You crave cupcakes. You go buy them. Would you crave them as much if you knew that you had to make them in order to get them? Probably not. There is something to be said about making the time to plan out your meals for yourself and family. You will save money and more importantly, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. Wanna go out for dinner? Pick a night to do so! Take a few of these tips that I use and try out a plan this week. If it doesn’t work out for you, tweak it a bit! I promise you will be glad that you made the time 🙂
1. Look over your schedule for the week. If you have a night or two that you know you’re going to be super busy, use that night for dining out or make a soup on Sunday and freeze it for later.
2. Check your pantry and fridge for ingredients that you already have on hand to use in your recipes for the week. This will reduce spending.
3. To keep things interesting, designate each night into regional cuisine or have a vegan night. You will eventually have a list of favorites that you will want every week or once a month, but I strongly recommend that you continuously change up your recipes that you create or try. There is no better way to broaden your craft and knowledge of ingredients through action.
4. Write out your plan on a dry erase board so that your significant others can get excited about what’s for din din. If you have kids, get them involved! Ask them to plan dinner for one night and have them prepare the meal. I try to do this with my own kids so that they will learn how to survive without me once they move out on their own.
5. Pick a day during the week to prepare food and cook in bulk: dried beans to toss into soups or salads, dips, crudites for quick snacks, and salsa. Canned beans are great and convenient but dried beans can stretch your dollar and contain less sodium.
6. Save recipes from magazines, Pinterest, or other source to try. The great thing is, if something sucks completely, just don’t ever make it again!
Have fun with it and don’t stress. Eating is fun. Creating what you eat can even be more fun. For Pete’s sake, just get back into the kitchen and cook!