Monthly Meal Planning Experiment

As I mentioned last week, I’m rethinking how I meal plan and grocery shop.  I’m doing this for three reasons:

  1. I started hating to cook.  I’ve enjoyed cooking since I was a little girl, but it started becoming a task I semi-dreaded.
  2. I like going to Trader Joe’s, but I don’t love buying meat there (not as good of selection or prices in my opinion).  I like buying meat from either Sprouts or HEB (huge local store), but I really don’t like going to more than one grocery store a week.
  3. We were eating the same boring things all of the time.  I wasn’t thinking at all about recipes until the night / hour before grocery shopping and so just made the same things over and over again.

It was clearly time for a change!

I decided trying to meal plan on a monthly, rather than weekly basis.  This way, I could get my cookbooks out once instead of every week, which clearly wasn’t happening.  Also, I could make a consolidated list of everything I needed from a non-Trader Joe’s store and just go there once a month, instead of debating every week which store to go to for what we needed that week.

So far, it is working great!

The initial process of going through cookbooks and making a grocery list for each week was time consuming, but it was also fun.  I chose a few cookbooks and then chose one recipe per week from each book.

This month, I used Thug Kitchen, Oh She Glows Every Day, Salad Love, and America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.

I also chose some things to make from my Baby Led Weaning Cookbook and The Big Book of Recipes for Babies, Toddlers, and Children.  James can now eat a lot of the same things we do, but it was fun to find recipes tailored to him and things like healthy sugar-free muffins, etc.

I chose four recipes per week, because we tend to have leftovers and just like to do our own thing some nights (e.g., my husband makes tacos and I make eggs or some kind of grain salad bowl).

After choosing the recipes, I made grocery lists for each different week, and then a separate list of things I’d need from HEB.  My husband graciously went and got the HEB stuff because it gets super crowded and it’s huge and I kind of hate going there.

This is our third week of the new plan and so far it is GREAT!

I’m back to grocer shopping once a week and I’m actually excited about the things I’m making again, woohoo!  I didn’t track this, but I’m fairly confident it’s good for the grocery budget too since fewer grocery trips means fewer impulse kombucha purchases on my part.

I’m already looking forward to choosing cookbooks and recipes for next month.

Do you meal plan or just wing it?

Do you have a favorite grocery store?

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  1. Haven’t been cooking much since baby…BUT normally I meal plan for a week at a time. I like the idea of doing a monthly plan though! Is Thug Kitchen a vegan book? I think I’ve heard great things about that cookbook!

    1. Yes! Thug Kitchen is vegan and I love it. It has a lot of Asian-ish recipes, though other stuff too. I think they have recipes on their wrbsite too if you wanted to try them out.

  2. I love the Oh She Glows blog, I’ve been reading it for years! Did you find the cookbook to be a good purchase? I meal plan weekly. I have myself on a deadline of having the meal plan done on Friday afternoon…which usually means I’m hurrying to do it on Friday afternoon. This leads to a lack of new recipes in my plan too! My husband shops for us (I think he prefers to go than stay home with the 2 year old and 4 mo old LOL) at Sams Club on Saturday mornings. I go to Trader Joes, Whole Foods, or Super Target probably twice a month. Our biggest hurdle is getting meals on the table since we both work full time. I tried some slow cooker meals and we just weren’t impressed. My husband is not a fan of one pot dinners and everything was just so mushy… Any suggestions? Would love to see pics/recipes that were a success for you and your family!

    1. I love the OSG cookbooks, I have both of them! I will say that some of the recipes are longer than what I often want to do on a week day, and especially if you’re working full time, but the OSG Every Day one (her second cookbook) is somewhat better for this. That’s so nice that your husband goes grocery shopping! It’s gotten to the point where James tolerates (enjoys?) shopping, but I’ve wondered how I will ever do it when we hopefully have two kids some day. Honestly, that sounds really hard – I usually use James’s afternoon nap to prep dinner stuff so it’s easier at night. I’ve also only found a couple of slow cooker recipes I like (basically just shredded chicken with bbq sauce or salsa). I will definitely post which recipes were favorites at the end of the month though, it’s been fun to try new ones!

  3. I love that Thug Kitchen book! I have a different Oh She Glows cookbook, which is awesome as well. This has motivated me to bust them out. I was just telling the hubs I wanted to get back to eating vegetarian for more of our meals.

    I like this idea! I always do weekly meal planning, but generally end up going to two grocery stores each weekend, which can be time consuming. Kombucha is also a top impulse by for me:)

  4. I have the other OSG one too, I love them both! I didn’t even intentionally choose mostly vegetarian recipes, I think I was just in the mood for lighter things because it’s been so HOT!

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