Getting groceries and meal planning seems to be a common source of grief amongst my girlfriends and female family members, and has been known to take much of the enjoyment out of cooking and eating alike. Because I just got back from the grocery store, and while it’s fresh on my mind, I would like to address this topic and share something that’s been working for me!
When we first got married, we lived exactly 2 blocks from a grocery store. And pathetically, every night we would say to each other, ‘what do ya want for supper?’ At which point we would decide what we’re hungry for… and then make a trip to the store to purchase the things we needed for that meal, with no regard for what we might want to eat THE NEXT DAY. This is true laziness. And since moving to completely the middle of nowhere rural Iowa, I’ve been schooled in this area and have been forced to not only shop for more than one meal, but to actually be organized about it.
But not organized in such a way that I make out a schedule of what meals we’ll have on what day… because you don’t know what you’re going to feel like a week from now. What if you’re not in the mood for Pizza? (not that that ever happens) Or what if you’re exhausted and don’t feel like making Beef Stroganoff? And so… I give you Bethany’s Meal System!!! (in Billy Mays’ voice)
At the beginning of each month, I do my grocery shopping for the entire month (you heard me). I find that this saves us TONS of money compared to when I used to shop every week (or every DAY!). We buy only frozen veggies and fruit for the most part, and we freeze our milk, cheese, bread, and just about everything else you can think of except for eggs! When I come home from the market and put my groceries away, while doing so I jot down each meal that we currently have the ingredients for on my handy dry-erase board. This serves several purposes:
- You know when you’re getting low on meals, and can plan accordingly when to go to the store.
- You can ambitiously tackle Lasagna on a night when you have a burst of energy.
- When you feel like there’s nothing in the house to eat, you can refer to your list and think to yourself. “Snap! I could eat and one of these 6 things remaining on my list!”
- You can flop down on the couch and ask the husband what he’s hungry for, and when he says “what are my options?” you can say “go look at the list… and be sure it’s something YOU can make.”