Meal Planning 101: Part 1

How much was your grocery bill each week?  Our weekly grocery budget is $130, and at least 50% of what we buy is certified organic.  Though sometimes a little bit over, and sometimes a little bit under, I am always within $20 of that budget.  It took a lot of trial and error, but I finally have a good method to my madness, and look forward to sharing it with you this week! 


STEP #1: GETTING IN TUNE WITH YOUR KITCHEN

So, here’s the deal guys.  If you don’t know what is lurking in the back of your freezer, pantry, or (eeek!) fridge, you’ve got to get your organizing on.   I {almost} always know what we have on hand, what is about to see its last day, what needs to be rotated into the freezer and what we need to buy more of.  This saves us time cooking/shopping, saves money, and eliminates waste.  It is an easy thing to do once you get in the habit of it, but where do you start?!  

ONE:  Clean house.  Take everything out, purge if necessary, and reorganize.  Literally.  Start with your freezer.  Take everything out.  If you find yourself saying “what’s that,” “ew,” “I can’t believe this was back there,” or “2013?!” THROW IT AWAY.  It is taking up valuable space for things that you are actually going to eat.  Repeat this task with your pantry and your fridge.     

TWO:  Take inventory.  As you are cleaning house, take note of what you have on hand through this process:  Pasta?  Quinoa?  Frozen chicken cutlets?  Frozen broccoli?  Carrots?  Kale?  Coconut milk?  Canned tomatoes?  If you aren’t good at taking mental notes, WRITE IT DOWN!  This is an essential piece to effectively planning meals.  

Don’t you feel better?!

THREE:    Now that you are organized, you are ready to conquer!  The next step is Identifying your kitchen staples.  These will vary from household to household, but it is important to know what need to have on hand in order to create and cook stellar meals.  My list includes ingredients that serve as the backbone for the majority of our meals. Take a minute and write down your essential staples.  Remember, there is not end-all-be-all here, this list will change and evolve as you do.  

What did you discover??

Stay tuned for tomorrow's topic:   Meal planning!