My strategies to plan our meals are, of course, what works for us dealing with MS. But, I think these will work equally as well for anyone that is just plain busy whether that is working full-time, raising children, traveling constantly, or whatever your situation may be.
- Plan out a thorough menu, including foods that everyone will eat if possible, and things for each meal. For us, we menu plan for a week at a time. We were doing our menu planning on Saturday and going to the grocery store Saturday afternoon while I was in school. Then, we started doing a grocery delivery service, and we’re trying to work in our menu planning around that. It’s important that your menu include breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and any snacks.
- Make a grocery list. Comb through your menu, look at your recipes, and write your grocery list based on things that you don’t have in the pantry/fridge yet. For example, if we did marinara spaghetti squash, since we have spaghetti sauce and ground meat in the freezer, we would put on the list to get a spaghetti squash from the store.
- Order meat in bulk, if you can. If you have the space, I highly recommend getting as big a freezer as you can. Then, find a local farmer and order meat in bulk. Ours has packages of 25 and 50lb choices of beef, and mixed species meats. So we usually order 100lbs, and pack it in our deep freezer. Then, we plan our meals around what meats we already have in the freezer.
- Get your veggies delivered, if you can. We recently found a local delivery service that can deliver vegetables, dairy, meat, and a variety of pantry staples to our door. I’ve found that even though it’s slightly more expensive than it would be to go to the grocery store, I actually end up saving money because I don’t veer from my list at the store with impulse buys. I’ve been ordering a vegetable bushel, milk, and pastured eggs. This week, I ordered lard and duck fat. This way, I get a variety of vegetables into our diets, and we don’t have to go to the store as often. Then I’ll go to the store to top up on spices, or things like potatoes and rice, to round out our meals.
- Eat a real food based diet. I promise, the money that you think you’re saving by eating prepackaged foods, you’re going to spend in extra food or health costs. You could even take it a step further (like we do) and choose organic, pasture-raised meats. We prioritize local over organic, so most of our produce is conventional, but we buy our meat from a local farmer. But, I’d rather have local produce than produce that was shipped all over the world to get to us.