Sharing Sunday: Meal Planning

As part of the Oregon Food Bank #localfoodchallenge, I’ve pledged to spend 10% of my grocery budget for the month of August on local foods. To get started, a deep dive into my meal planning process.

Happy Sunday everyone!

The Oregon Food Bank’s Local Food Challenge has officially begun.  Have you registered?  If so, consider entering my giveaway to win $50 from Whole Foods.  I am pledging to spend 10% of my monthly food budget on local foods.  I’ll be sharing my experience here every Sunday for the month of August and to kick it off, I’m talking meal planning.

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I am a big meal planner for a couple reasons:  I think it saves money and cuts down on food waste. I usually sit down every Sunday, create my meal plans for the week (lunch and dinners on weekdays and weekends) then create a grocery list based on that.  I grocery shop on Mondays.  Here some of the key ideas behind my plan:

  • Before beginning, look at the calendar & the weather:  Are you going to a party that requires a potluck dish?  Is it going to be 100 degrees?  Is it going to rain?  What are you doing over the weekend?  
  •  Did you eat all of last week’s meals?  Or do you have any leftover ingredients/produce that needs to be used?  With summer being so busy, I often have a meal left over from the previous week.  
  • Two dinner each week should be entree-sized salads.  Eat your veggies!
  • One dinner each week should be pantry/freezer based.  If unexpected plans come up, (example: invited to friend’s home for dinner) I simply skip this meal.  No harm done, no food goes to waste.
  • No more than one new recipe a week.  This is a cost-saving measure, to cut down on new ingredients, and a time-saver.  If left to my own devices I’d spend hours each night cooking fancy and expensive recipes.  We ain’t got time for that.
  • Look for meals that make good leftovers the next day for lunches.  Are there any meals you can easily double for the freezer?

Ok, so that’s my basic thought process when planning the week.  It honestly takes me a good 60-90 minutes to plan the meals and make a grocery list.  Kind of a time investment but on Sundays with a cup of coffee, Pinterest and my cookbooks, I find it enjoyable.  I write my meal plan in Evernote so I can look at it on any device, then I use Grocery IQ to make the grocery list.

Grocery IQ

I don’t usually plan weekday breakfasts because we always eat the same things: yogurt, fruit and oatmeal. For most lunches, my husband gets sandwiches, and I plan something simple for myself.  This week is pretty busy so, you’ll see there are a few meals are skipped.

Monday: 90 degrees!
L: Sandwich/smoothies
D: Grilled Burgers and grilled corn on the cob (leftover meal from previous week)
L: Leftover Burgers + Fruit 
D:  Grilled Chicken with Blueberry Avocado Arugula Salad
Wednesday:  Volleyball Night
L: Sandwich/ Soup w/ Local Veggies & Hummus
D: Take out (Nana bringing)
Thursday:  Drive-in Movie night
L: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
D: Caprese Sandwiches,  local Blueberries, popcorn (picnic food)
L: Sandwich/Ramen with Veggies
D: Chicken Taco Salad
B: Eggs and Bacon 
L & D: At Grandparents
B & L: At Grandparents
D: Grilled Pork Chops with Pesto Gnocchi & Local Veggie
L:  Leftover Pork and Gnocchi

What’s my plan for buying local foods?
This week, I’m going to make one additional stop during my shopping day at a local farm stand like Kruger’s or The Barn.  I’ll buy as much of my grocery list there as possible, then continue with the list at Winco.  My goal is only 10% of the budget on local foods so I think that will include lettuce, blueberries, apples and corn.  

Check back here next week.   I’ll be sharing my grocery bill and running the numbers to see how I did.  

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