Saturday, October 15, 2011

Makin' Me a Spreadsheet: Budget Meal Planning

As part of the 72 Ideas in 72 Days Project, I have been dabbling in various methods of planning meals. Because I don't like cooking. Have I mentioned that? Like, a thousand times? My theory was that if I hit on the right kind of meal plan - something like budget meal planning with a nerdy twist - the daily chore of cooking wouldn't seem as tedious. Thus far, no particular method of meal planning has really wowed me.

It was Erin of Mumma the Healer who finally clued me into the fundamental problem, which was that there was a disconnect between my meal planning and my grocery shopping. Duh. Maybe you're asking how I didn't get that. See Exhibit A: My dislike of cooking. 

On Friday, I went to the grocer. With a semi-set budget of $100 and a shopping list based on 6 repeatable meals, simple roasted veggie sides, fruits, and some other things. Specifically fancy-ish yogurt for the Babby and nuts and eggs for boiling for me. (When I was in Vermont last weekend, all of my simple meals were hard boiled eggs, some nuts, and a little bread. I have to find out how my Aunt hard cooks hers... no green yolk, no eggy smell!) And the biggest olive oil I could afford, because we'll use it.

So far, so good. On Friday, I made lentil soup. A favorite of the Babby and the whole family, which warms my heart. I snacked on some nuts and romaine, and the Babby had fruit salad and some raw veg on the side. Healthy!

I'm not planning things down to the day. That's a good way to guarantee that I wil absolutely NOT want to eat whatever is on the menu that day. I have everything I need to make my six chosen meals - a few times each, actually. And I'm giving myself freedom in the form of vegetable side dishes. I want to use this as an opportunity to buy new things. I bought a turnip! And some incredibly bizarre albino asparagus that happened to be on sale. Along with my usual giant bag of broccoli. I love broccoli.

Semi-related: I thought of something that I could look forward to about colder weather and the coming of winter! I can make bread again without worrying that it will go yucky before we can eat it all!

budget meal planning


  1. I'm trying to meal plan now, too- it really help. When I used to do it, I'd keep a list of the meals I had planned for the week but could change up the days- depending on what I felt like making/eating that day.

  2. I tried meal planning and let's just say I failed at it. The mention of lentil soup has my stomach growling. I could go for some with homemade bread. yum!

  3. Exactly my problem- if I plan something for Tues night I'll be too tired or just not want to cook that thing. We've decided Tues and Thurs are crock-pot days, but we have some flexibility there. I like the idea of a few repeatable meals. But yeah, overall I fail at meal planning too.

  4. I plan out for the most part too. I do find however that when it's just me and the kid, we eat a lot more leftovers :) and my planning gets pushed back a few days. But, I try to use the fresh veggies and fruit first, so nothing spoils, then because all of our meat is frozen (we buy from a CSA) I have to use what I defrost in short time... It keeps me cooking, I say go the crockpot way too... So easy and low maintenance!

  5. I'm horrid at meal planning - I should be more on top of that but when it comes to the grocery store, I've been known to have "shiny penny syndrome" and buy a bunch of things that look fabulous and then I have to maguyver a recipe out of them when I get home... I think my budget might appreciate me actually planning out meals (and future posts) and being a bit more "focused" when it comes to shopping.

    Great blog - found you via SITS :)


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