My Meal Plan Process

Meal planning. Let's face it, we act like it a fun thing to do but it 90% of the time it is stressful, troublesome, and (sometimes) time consuming.
Whether you are planning for 5 days a week or 2, meal planning is important. 
I thought instead of giving you tips on how to meal plan, I would just show (or write) you straight up what my meal planning process looks like.
 How I meal plan
I plan meals (mostly dinners) for two weeks. This works for me because I tend to spend less in one big trip then in two. Now, during those two weeks I may go to the store to pick up an item or two but I still stay fairly under budget and get a majority of what I need in that first big trip.

My budget for those two weeks is between $80-$100. Do I stay in that bracket on my biweekly shopping trip? No? It depends on the week. Some trips I need organic olive oil and other big organic items which is expensive and jacks up my grocery bill. Some weeks I spend under that because I have stocked up on items the trip before. It fluctuates. 

On the Thursday before my biweekly shopping trip I sit down with a cute calendar (my favorite printable is here) and start scrolling through new recipes I may have pinned over the two weeks onto my "Time To Eat" pinterest board.  I like to cook 1-2 new meals during the two weeks. Spice up life a little. If I haven't pinned much I'll look into my recipe book full of recipes I've already made and see what I have stored up in there.

OH I guess I should talk about our eating habits before we dive into shopping lists and such. I say our diet is 80/20 - 80% vegetarian/vegan/plant-based and 20% Meat (chicken or fish). 
Here is my stance on meat - I am not against meat as long as they are humanly raised and fed properly (aka grass fed/organic/no hormones). I grew up on a farm and we raised meat cows so I know what it takes for them to be raised and raise correctly. I don't like the industrial aspect of the U.S meat industry so I just don't support it.

-I don't eat or cook pork ever. It is just a preference.
-I RARELY eat beef. Only at christmas when we get a roast from our old local butcher do I eat beef (and usually not that much). I grew up eating from that butcher shop and know the cows come from the field behind it so I know they are treated well. ;)
-When it comes to chicken I really try to buy organic, humanly raised, antibiotic and hormone free chicken. Though my local grocery only has limited amounts of that so I usually can only get local antibiotic and hormone free. Which is better then nothing. But since that's all I can get we only eat it once a week at most.
-Any fish I buy is wild caught. I never by farmed. Its usually Mahi Mahi, Tuna, or Salmon (on RARE occasions cause salmon is expensive wild caught) 

Ok moving on.... 

So like I said our diet is 80/20. I cook 2 out of the 5 days a week. That may not seem like a lot but Mondays and Tuesdays we have church commitments, Wednesday and Thursday I cook, and Fridays are usually pizza or take out. 
So out of those 2 days, on a good week, I try to make both vegetarian/vegan/plant-based. But, if we have stocked up on good chicken or fish, I will use one of those days to have a meat meal. I also try to eliminate dairy from the meal as much as possible. I'll sub a lot of meals with vegan alternatives but there are some days that I allow dairy.

So here is an example of our menu for the next two weeks 
Monday - Class (we usually grab some rice bowls at our local Moes)
Tuesday - Leftovers 
Wednesday - Crock Pot Enchilada Quinoa
Thursday - Sweet Potato BBQ Burgers with Mac+Cheese (Annies GF) and Green Beans 
Monday - Class 
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Baked Teriyaki Chicken with Broccoli and White Rice 
Thursday - Crock Pot Veggie Lasagna 

Next comes grocery list shopping. I use this list pad that you can buy on amazon. It works perfect for me. I usually go through every recipe and write what items I need from the store for those recipes. Then I move on the staple items I know we will need from week to week.

Right before I head out to the store I make sure to updated my coupon book with new coupons from sites like coupons.com and mambo sprouts. As well as digital coupons that my store offers.

Then I go shopping! You can check out my simple organic shopping tips and tricks for shopping here! 

Got questions?? I'd love to answer them! Leave a comment below! 

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