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Meal Planning & Prepping 101

A few months ago I reached the breaking point when it came to the food in our house. I was tired of the same old dinners, tired of the amount of junk my kids were eating, and tired of fighting the picky eater battles. So I started to brainstorm ways to simplify not only what we were eating each week but also how much money I was spending on food. That’s how Meal Prep Monday was born.

I started out doing my meal prep on Sunday’s and that worked great during the summer. But with football season coming up and the kids being back in school and sports, I needed to revamp things a bit. I do shopping on one day during the week, I prep produce and fruits on one day and I still do main meal and lunch prep on Sunday mornings. It’s been a couple of weeks now and it’s working for me. I have a lot of friends in my real life and on social media who have been asking me to share in more detail how I do my prep. They are really the reason the blog has made a comeback! I also plan to share a lot of the new recipes that I’ve been making as well as some more in-depth posts about meal and lunch prepping.

Some notes about the way I meal plan and prep:

  • I do my weekly shopping at ALDI and Walmart. I also do a trip to Costco every other week and Sam’s Club once a month. 
  • My grocery budget for ALDI and Walmart is $125-$150 a week. I budget another $200 for Costco and Sam’s Club. My budget covers all food, household, and pet items.
  • We only eat out on special occasions. I cook 4 dinners a week, we have leftovers/Fridge clean out nights twice a week, and we make Take ‘n Bake pizzas every Saturday night. My 3 kids who are still in school take lunches 5 days a week and my oldest takes his lunch to work every day. 
  • I use only fresh vegetables and I try to use mostly fresh meats. The salmon and tilapia are always frozen because that’s what fits in my budget. 
  • I tend to stick to in-season fruits and vegetables because they are cheaper. 
  • I utilize my Crockpot and my Instant Pot for nights when we have extracurriculars or sports so we’re not tempted to eat out. 
  • It typically takes me about 30 minutes to do lunch prep and about 2 hours to do my Sunday meal prep. When I take into account how much time it saves me each weeknight, it’s well worth the time investment. 
  • I purchased fruit and vegetable prep containers that help preserve the food so it lasts all week. I’ll share specifics on them soon. Pro Tip: they’re worth every penny.
  • I plan my dinners on Wednesday’s when the sale circulars come out for ALDI and Walmart. I try to always plan dinners around what meat and vegetables are on sale that week. 
  • I typically don’t buy convenience foods such as hot pockets, pizza rolls, chicken nuggets, or bagel bites. Occasionally I will pick up a pack of frozen cheese pizzas when they go on sale at Costco. 

I’m excited to share more about how I meal plan, meal prep, and lunch prep. I’ll give you a peek into my fridges and my pantry and share info on the apps and products that make it so easy for me to accomplish all of this on a weekly basis. Next week I’ll be sharing the exact method I use to do my weekly meal plans. You can find all the posts in my Meal Planning & Prep and Lunch Planning & Prep series HERE


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