This week's title is "Grocery Shopping and Meal Planning". Well that's right up my alley! Since we have 10 in our family meal planning and grocery shopping is at the top of my to-do list! Lynn, the author, laments that grocery shopping with children can be something she'd rather not do. I am blessed to either have my husband pick up groceries on his way home from teaching (he even does the deals and coupons!) or grocery shop myself with my mom home to watch the troops.
Meal planning is a strategy that you don't realize what you've got until you don't have a plan for a week! You find yourself struggling at 5:00...trying to come up with something for dinner. Been there, done that! There are all sorts of strategies that you can implement for regular menu planning. Make a list of meals that most of your family loves. Rotate those meals. No one will remember when you ate what...if they like it, they'll eat it! There are a number of ways to organize your menu planning. Write the menu on a piece of paper, type it up, print off the menu page from Motivated Moms and fill it out, or use a computer system like BigOven. If it helps, assign each night of the week with a type of food. Mondays and Tuesdays are crock pot nights for us since I'm out before dinner with various children and their lessons. Wednesdays need to be easy clean up since we leave for church activities right after. I plan fairly nice meals (and usually time consuming) for Thursday evenings since I'm usually home all day. Friday is always pizza; either home made or an occasional carry out treat. Saturdays are usually "fun food" like burgers on the grill, or BBQ chicken. Sunday's lunch meal is usually a nice crock pot meal and Sunday night is "clean out the fridge night".
To help your menu planning and grocery shopping easier here are some of Lynn's tips with mine sprinkled in for good measure:
*Clean out the fridge before you shop so the "new" foods don't hide the "old" foods which will go unnoticed and start to grow lots of fuzzy friends.
*Don't wing it! Shop regularly and with a LIST!
*Don't shop hungry!
*Doing the last two things together are often cause for T.R.O.U.B.L.E....on your pocketbook and your waistline!
*Try listening to your iPod in the store...with upbeat music playing. If the store is playing slow music you have a greater chance of spending more time there and spending more of your precious money.
*Keep a price book. List items that you regularly buy, the brand, the store you purchase it, the size, the price, and the unit price. This will help you figure out if that can of "sale" soup at Wallyworld is actually a good deal or not.
*Shop the outskirts of the store. The healthier items are on the outside edges of the store...meat, produce, dairy.
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"Studies show that families will eat the same ten main dish foods eighty percent of the time."
(See, I told you...they won't mind!)
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"But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing: Psalm 34:10