Real Life Meal Planning – The Basics

I started this series last week (see the first meal planning post here). Over the next few weeks, as everyone gears up for the new year and starting new habits (or getting rid of old habits) I am going to share with the meal planning plan that works for my family.  It isn’t 100% clean, it isn’t 100% Organic, but it is 100% doable, and could be used as a stepping stone for your family as well.

 

Here’s what I came up with as our meal planning Basics, these are good spots to start.  I do not recommend jumping in and changing everything all at once, that is a recipe for failure. 

 

We only use organic eggs.  Now this one was a bit tricky (manufacturers are sneaky with their labeling). I try to buy our eggs at the farmer’s market, or local people/farms I know that feed their chickens with Non-GMO feed.  If I can’t get those, then I buy from the supermarket.  If I do purchase eggs from the supermarket, they must be labeled certified humane, free range and part of the non-GMO project.  Whichever way I buy them, I know I am spending $4-$6 per dozen of eggs.  Now this is 2x or 3x what conventional eggs cost in the stores. I know what you are thinking (I thought you were going to tell me how to save money).  I have found that spending a little extra on the good things is worth it.

 

We only use organic milk.  I did for a time buy raw milk from the local dairy farm.  But given all of the other stops I have to make for groceries, that was an added extra out of the way location and didn’t help with my work/life/food/time balance.  Organic Milk is usually $5-$6 per gallon.  We use about 1 gallon per week (if we have cereal). I am somewhat grossed out by the fact that we are the only animals that consume another animal’s milk, and also the only animals that consume milk into adulthood.  There are also studies that say the growth hormones in milk affect the development of children and more. So, we limit this in our home.  We supplement with no sugar added, carrageenan free coconut milk or almond milk.

 

I buy meat in bulk if possible.  Either on sale at the supermarket or through a bulk distributor.  Zaycon Fresh has been a lifesaver for me, but it does take some organization and planning to be successful.  They are not organic.  All animals used for meat are born, raised and processed in the US.  That was important to me. But like I said, this is not a perfect plan, just my workable plan. You can get the same deals on meat if you pay attention to sales at stores, I do not choose to spend my time scoping out sales. (I will do a post on Zaycon meat processing… there is a lot of detail that goes into that)

 

I buy a lot of our Organic foods at the local Aldi, but sometimes HEB or Kroger will have to do.

 

Staples on my grocery list each week:

  • 1 Gallon of Organic Milk $6.00
  • 1 Dozen of Organic Eggs $5.00
  • 2 Pounds of Organic Bananas $2.00
  • 1 Half Gallon of Coconut Milk $3.00
  • 1 Package of Tortillas $2.50
  • 1 Bag of Shredded Cheese $2.50
  • 1 Package of Sliced Colby Jack $2.50
  • 2 Boxes of 4 Applesauce Squeezables (non-GMO/Organic) $4.50 ($2.25 each)
  • 1 Package of organic frozen berries $4
  • 1 Bag of pretzels/chips  $3
  • 1 package of sandwich cookies $2
  • 1 package of 10 Organic juice boxes (100% juice) $4
  • 1 package of 6 gatorade or juice $4
  • 1 Bottle of 100% Organic Apple Juice $3
  • 1 Package of Muffin Mix $1
  • 1 Loaf of Bread $2
  • One Box of Jello $.50
  • One Box of Instant Pudding $.50
  • 4 Oranges or Apples $2

Total for Staples-  $55

 

My Sunday Prep:

Make Sunday breakfast for the family (use the leftovers for prep)

  • 12-24 mini muffins (bag up in sets of 3)
  • 10 Sandwiches (5 PB&J, 5 Turkey & Cheese) – put in freezer, put in lunches in morning
  • Jello/Pudding/Fruit Cups
  • Smoothie Packets (1 sliced banana, 1 cup of berries and put in freezer)
  • “Lunchables”
  • Salad Jars
  • Boil 6 Eggs
  • Cookies/Snacks (bag cookies 2 or 3 to a snack size bag. separate chips/pretzels into bags)

Breakfast options: smoothie, muffins, sometimes cereal

Lunch: Leftovers, Lunchable, Salads, Sandwiches, Chips, Cookies, Fruit, Juice

With this list, I can provide breakfast & lunch for 5 people all week (Mon-Friday).  This is a good start.  Plan your breakfasts and lunches as the first step in successful meal planning.  Once you get that going, then work on dinners.  The Next post will be about Zaycon bulk meat and how I work that into the plan. Stay tuned.