Since September I’ve been horrendously busy with school and student teaching and as a result my diet took a turn for the worse. My days start at 5:30 am and don’t end until 7:30 pm, at which point I am far too exhausted to cook myself a healthy meal. On top of that, the holidays and the fact that I’m making no income has taken a toll on our food budget. So take out and frozen dinners it has been.
A few weeks ago I decided that needed to change. I needed a plan of attack, some organization, a way to make easy healthy meals on a budget. I needed a meal plan. I did a quick Google search and read this article on how to make a meal plan and went on my way creating a meal plan. It’s done wonders for our diet and makes my life so easy.
If you’re interested in a meal plan here’s what I did:
1. Flipped through the Fresh and Easy cookbook for recipes. If there is one cookbook everyone should own it’s this one. The meals are simple and fresh, and it has photos of all of the ingredients and each step. Best cookbook I’ve ever used.
2. Made a list of recipes I liked. My criteria was that they take less than 20 minutes and, of course, that they look delicious.
3. Use the recipes to make menus. I used 10 recipes to make 5 menus as follows:
-Middle Eastern: Falafel and Tabouli
-Italian: Pasta with tomato pesto, caprese salad
-Light & Fresh: Poached eggs over asparagus, beet/goat cheese salad
-Country Picnic: Pan Bagnats and Gazpacho Soup
-Fish Dinner: Baked Fish, Cooked Spinach
4. Make a printable grocery list. You can see mine here. I have it broken down into the ingredients needed for each meal. I left off things like garlic, onion, and spices that I always have in stock.
5. Get shopping and cooking!
Notes: I have been choosing 3 menus a week to cook on MWF. On the off days I have leftovers. There are also some fabulous apps and websites for meal planning. I played around with Pepper Plate and I really liked it.