the beauty of meal planning (part 2)

Last week I shared with you all part one of how meal planning has made 2016 a whole lot more pleasant at dinner time for the Bolte household. My hanger (hungry anger) is a lot more manageable when I know what we’re eating and how long it will take until its ready.

Unfortunately this last weekend was extremely busy. This really isn’t unfortunate at all, because we got to hang out with family and Super Bowl part-ay, the whole blogging and meal planning just took a hit. Because we blew our weekly budget for food on Super Bowl food we deemed this week leftovers week and are scraping by with the food we have until this weekend. No meal plan this week people.

Last week I shared with you how we grocery shop. This week I’ll be sharing a few tips on how we actually eat the food we bought. Our meals usually look something like this.

  • Breakfasts – Oatmeal & Fruit, Protein Shake, Toast, or Eggs
  • Lunches – Nearly always leftovers in the winter. In the summer we’ll eat sandwiches and oddly a lot of eggs.
  • Dinners – Dinner is where the magic happens. See our tips below.

Plan flexibly. 

We meal plan for five nights a week, knowing that at least one night will be declared leftover night and one other night we won’t have much of an appetite and find ourselves snacking on carrots and hummus and popcorn (always popcorn). I also am not a proponent of assigning meals that have to be cooked on specific days. For example, if I meal plan that Monday we’ll be making chicken tacos but Monday night we really want grilled cheese and soup. We’ll have that grilled cheese and soup and not feel any remorse for screwing with the meal plan whatsoever. As long as the ingredients are in the kitchen, the food is fair game. Flexibility people.

Pinterest for the win 

We have a few classics like chili and chicken quinoa bakes that stumble on to our meal plan at least biweekly, but the majority of our meal planning is done collecting recipes on Pinterest. I love Pinterest for meal planning because 1) you can collect a board full of recipes anytime you have a few minutes to “meal plan” and 2) when the ingredients for a recipe are on our sale, we can try a new recipe that we’ve been excited to make for weeks. This makes cooking so much more fun.

Include at least one crock pot meal 

Because life gets busy and one cannot always spend hours in the kitchen preparing dinner (and by hours I mean forty-five minutes, because that’s my recipe attention span) we always include at least one crock pot recipe for the week. Crock pots are great, because we can be busy all day and still come home to an apartment that smells like we slaved away in the kitchen for hours (forty-five minutes, whatever).

Just add cheese 

This one isn’t a real meal planning tip, but Ryan does it ALL THE TIME. If the eggs are a little dry, add some cheese. If the leftovers are looking yucky for lunch, add some cheese. If you just need a little more fat in your life, add some cheese. It’s our little secret to getting good tasting meals all the time 😉

What are your thoughts on meal planning? Do you have any go to meals to share? Please do!

Check out my final meal planning post here.

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