Works-for-Me Wednesday: Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping
It's Works-for-Me-Wednesday over at Rocks In My Dryer. I've enjoyed Shannon's blog for a few weeks now, and thought I'd add my two cents to her weekly column. Not sure if I'll have anything for next Wednesday... Be sure to click on over to her blog to see the other participants and their helpful hints.
I'm not the most organized person in the world--my husband will be the first to agree. Before the birth of our daughter, we discussed how things would have to change around here to keep the household running smoothly while we adjusted to being parents and the demands of a newborn. He volunteered to take on some of "my" duties, such as laundry and grocery shopping. Well, the laundry never got done quickly enough when it was "his" job, so I've taken that over again, but we've gotten into a routine with the grocery shopping that has really made my life easier.
Neil didn't want to be running to the store three or four times a week like I typically would, so we sat down on a Saturday morning (after we'd received the grocery fliers) and planned our menu for the following week. We write a simple list consisting of day of the week, what's for dinner, time we'll eat, and if we have any post-dinner meetings planned. Because Neil is home at varying times every week, and because he often goes away in the evenings, this is a great way for me to glance at the list on the fridge and be able to have dinner ready on time. It also cuts down tremendously on the whole "it's five o'clock and I have no idea what we're having for dinner" stress. We tend to eat better, and we resort to junk food for dinner much less often.
The other side of it is the grocery list. Once we have the menu planned, I make the grocery list, checking my cupboards and fridge for ingredients. I'm much more aware now of what we actually have in the kitchen, since I check things at least once a week. This has led to more creative and interesting meals that use ingredients we already have...therefore, we spend less money on groceries, as well! We've been doing the groceries together lately, and we can whip through the stores pretty quickly with the list.
I rarely have to hit the grocery store during the week (do you know how hard it is to lug a 17lb 4-month-old around in her not-so-light car seat, especially when you're only 5' tall and not much over 100lbs? yeah. not so easy. my biceps are awesome.). I look at my menu in the morning to see if I have to take meat out to thaw, and then pretty much can forget about dinner until it's time to prepare it.
All around, this works really well for our family. Now, if anyone has a helpful hint about getting a 4-month-old to play happily by herself while I'm actually preparing dinner...or perhaps how to remind her that she indeed does like to take naps...