How I Plan Meals

I start out with healthified recipes. Why healthified? Basically, I LOVE pizza. And pasta. And breakfast casseroles. Give me white rice every day, and i'm happy. However, I don't want to eat unhealthy, overeat too-large portions, or gain weight! So... enter my favorite foods, made and weighed by me, with reduced-fat and fat-free ingredients, smaller portions, but still lots of flavor. I like being able to lose or maintain my weight and eat right while having sausage and potato casserole for breakfast, chicken enchiladas for lunch and pepperoni pizza for dinner. It makes me smile. Here is an eight-step description of how I plan mine and Austin's meals each week:
1. Get it on paper. On Wednesday or Thursday (at the latest) I set up a list with all of the days. This gives me time to get to the grocery store by Sunday!

2. Check in. I talk to Austin to see if there are any dinners, lunches, etc. planned. For the ones we’re both attending, I mark ‘OUT’ as in eating out. For the ones it’s just one of us I mark ‘1’ – the other person still has to eat, right? I also note if we’re out of town as I have to pack different food for that (some things don’t reheat/pack/etc. as well as others). This week was pretty easy - only one out to eat on Saturday night!

Monday: (b); (l); (d)
Tuesday: (b); (l); (d)
Wednesday: (b); (l); (d)
Thursday: (b); (l); (d)
Friday: (b); (l); (d)
Saturday (out of town): (b); (l); OUT (d)
Sunday (out of town): (b); (l); (d)

3. Hit the recipe lists. I try to:
  • Mix it up – Mexican, Italian, etc. I try to avoid two rice dishes in one day or two sandwiches in one day.
  • Choose lunches that taste good reheated!
  • Use recipes with similar fresh ingredients
  • Make multiple servings of a recipe so that I’m not cooking SO much
**I don't normally color code -but thought it helped show you my pattern!
Monday: Sausage/Egg/Cheese Muffins (b); chicken fried rice (l); pesto pasta with chicken and mushrooms (d)
Tuesday: English muffin breakfast pizza (b); cheesy chicken spaghetti (l); Veggie Pizza (d)
Wednesday: Sausage/Egg/Cheese Muffins (b); chicken fried rice (l); pesto pasta with chicken and mushrooms (d)
Thursday: cereal (b); cheesy chicken spaghetti (l); green salsa chimichangas (d)
Friday: English muffin breakfast pizza (b); cashew chicken curry (l); Veggie Pizza (d)
Saturday (out of town): scrambled egg & sausage pizza (b); green salsa chimichangas (l); OUT (d)
Sunday (out of town): scrambled egg & sausage pizza (b); cashew chicken curry (l); Chicken Picatta (d)

4. Determine Servings. I make a list of how many servings of each recipe I need to make that week based on the info above.
  • Sausage/Egg/cheese Muffins – Make 4 muffins (for 4 servings)
  • English Muffin Breakfast Pizzas – Make 4 pizza muffins (for 4 servings)
  • Scrambled Egg & Sausage Pizzas – Make 2 pizzas (4 servings)
  • Chicken Fried Rice – Double Recipe (4 servings)
  • Pesto pasta with chicken and mushrooms – Double Recipe (4 servings)
  • Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti – Double Recipe (4 servings)
  • Veggie Pizza – Make 4 mini pizzas (for 4 servings)
  • Green Salsa Chimichangas – Double Recipe (4 servings)
  • Cashew Chicken Curry – Double Recipe (4 servings)
  • Chicken Picatta – Follow recipe (2 servings)
  • Cereal – make sure cereal/milk is on hand
Now I’m only making 10 recipes for the week (but 39 meals!).

5. Make a Recipe List. Copy/paste all of the recipes into one document. Makes them easy to find!

6. Make an Ingredient List. I copy/paste all of the ingredient lists into one document, and organize it by “grocery store” sections.

7. Ready to go. Now, I have ONE packet (word document) of all of the recipes in one place including the meal plan, how many servings to cook, and an ingredient list. From here, I simply check the pantry and refrigerator to see what I’m out of, and keep these items on the list. Then I add snacks (yogurt, cheese, crackers, etc.) and household items (shampoo, Comet, etc.) and my grocery list is ready!

8. Cook it up. Print out the packet, go to the grocery store, cook and divide servings into Tupperware (I use Rubbermaid takealongs, and weigh servings on a scale!). I keep the packet on the fridge so I can see at-a-glance what needs to be cooked and when we'll be eating what!

That’s about it! Let me know if you have any questions or if I wasn’t specific about something!