Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 2: Menu Planning, Week 1

Check out Life in Yellow for this free printable!

So, it's time to get down to some planning! This is one of those things I recognize the importance of but struggle with implementing. I have been all over the blogosphere looking for the Perfect System that will work for me, but I haven't found it yet. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), since I am not a natural in the kitchen (except when it comes to sitting down and eating), learning to plan successfully is critical to my success in transitioning to a Paleo(ish) lifestyle. No more sandwich nights or "bad mommy dinners" (that would be a bowl of cereal, btw).

Because I am not very skilled in the kitchen, I tend not to be very adventurous. When I do try something new, it's often not met with unanimous approval, but I am not going to let these things stand in my way this time! The next 31 days are all about learning new things and developing new habits, so lets get started!
Confession: Yesterday I decided to have one last hoorah before the "official" first day of my New! Improved! Healthy! diet, so I had a distinctly non-Paleo party in my mouth, which may have resulted in an Oreo-induced sugar coma for several hours. I actually woke up thinking, yuk, don't want to do that again any time soon. Does this mean you can teach an old dog new tricks?
Tip: Plan for leftovers! A meal in the freezer can prevent a last-minute, unhealthy (and pricey) meal on the run. Also, if you are someone who doesn't like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, maximize the time you have and make extra.

I always underestimate the amount of food my teenagers can eat, so this is something I need to work on. I would love to eventually purchase a Food Saver so I can seal and freeze leftovers immediately, but until then freezer bags and Gladware will work!

Tip: Plan around what's in season. Not only will it save you money, but in-season produce tastes better, too! GroceryBudget101.com has a great list of seasonal produce as well as sales cycles.

At the moment, I do most of my shopping at Trader Joe's (love) and Target (with my Red Card). I don't coupon to begin with, but coupons won't help me much since the majority are for the processed foods I will be avoiding! It is my goal to get to the point in my budgeting, planning, and follow-through to make weekly trips to our awesome farmer's market so I can buy local, fresh, in-season produce. 

From a budgeting standpoint, I know that many dedicated people do their planning around weekly sales and specials at their various local grocery stores, but this is very overwhelming to me ~ I'm just not that organized, and besides, I'd rather spend that time hiking!



Dinner:

Wednesday: pork chops, zucchini, mashed potatoes
Thursday: spaghetti squash (spaghetti for the kiddos) with meatballs, green beans
Friday: taco beans
Saturday: roast chicken with root vegetables (make chicken broth from bones)
Sunday: Honey Mustard Chicken Wings
Monday: Crock Pot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

Lunch:

Leftovers as much as possible
Baked potato with cottage cheese
Japanese rice with meatballs

Breakfast:

Basic Paleo Egg Muffins

For the most part, these are Paleo-friendly meals, but at the same time, they are familiar, simple, and feel very doable to me. I've never cooked chicken wings before, so that will be my "adventure meal" for the week.

Now that I've taken stock and planned meals around what I have on hand, tomorrow I will talk about how to stock a Paleo pantry!


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