Meal Planning

Planning is a vital part of being able to eat healthy on a budget.  This topic can easily be added to our Eating Healthy on a Budget series of blogs.  I haven't been able to find a lot of information out there that addresses this topic from a realistic point of view.  I know that beans, rice and pasta are inexpensive but they are also high in calories.   We want to eat healthy, stick to our budget and still be able lose weight. 

I understand planning can be difficult, and time consuming, but it's going to make a huge difference.  There are some of us who are born organizers; I'm not one of them so if you’re thinking this is easy for me you couldn't be further from the truth.   If you bing (or google) a free food planning chart several will come up.   This one was my favorite, to view click here.  
Choose the one that you like best, chances are better that you'll use it.  I find many people just plan dinners and that’s a mistake.  A good deal of my lunches are left over dinners.

I usually print out 2 copies; one will be my working copy and the other my final copy.  Armed with a chart and pencil you’re ready to start planning.  I like to pull up the local store flyers on my computer and browse through them.  Seeing what's on sale is important to what my meals will be.   Now, I'm ready to begin.

I'm going to be general here because we all have our various diets.  From vegans to Atkins followers everyone would benefit from making a weekly meal plan.  If there is something on sale that you can use buy it.  If it's an item that freezes well that can be a dinner you won't have to prepare.  Preparing a head of time makes life easier to stick to a budget and is time efficient. 

Now is also a fantastic time of year to eat seasonally.  Eating seasonally is also a way of being budget friendly.  At my local store they currently have bags of salad 2 for $4.00.  That's a pretty good price for bagged salad.   What I like to do is buy the bag of 3 heads of romaine and then I add some of the bagged salad mix to it.  It makes an interesting salad without having to buy several heads of various lettuces.  Chicken leg quarters are .99 cents a pound, split chicken breasts with ribs are 1.99 a pound.  I'll buy a package of each and make the recipe below. 

Chicken Stew
1.    Remove skin from chicken pieces.  Use a deep pan.  Brown in a little olive oil.
2.    Add tomato sauce (or a can of diced tomatoes), water, seasoning and bring to a simmer.
3.    After about 20 minutes, add vegetables you have on hand, either frozen or fresh. (a handful of chopped spinach and mushrooms give the dish a meaty taste, so if you have some on hand that's a must too).  Another favorite of mine is okra.
4.    Make sure there is enough liquid and add a handful of orzo pasta.  If you want to substitute with brown rice you'll need to add that from the beginning.
5.    Chicken is ready when it's reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and the juices run clear. 

I make enough to get two meals out of it.   You can omit the pasta serve it over rice (pasta) in that way you have more control over the portion size of your starch.

As I continue to browse I'll try to think of meals I can make with those items.  Nothing is worse than having a pantry full of food that you don't know what to do with.  I'll do searches for new ideas or refer to some old standbys until my meal planner is filled in.   I use the back of the weekly meal planner as a shopping list.  I start on Wednesday and by Friday (shopping day) I'm done.  

I'll print out the recipes I'm going to use and put everything into the folder.  If I have coupons they get paper clipped and added to my folder.  I want everything in one place.  It has to be easy and convenient to use.  

Peaches are on sale $1.99 lb.

Peach & Blueberry Cobbler
from EatingWell
10 servings
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/4 hours

    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    3 tablespoons canola oil
    1 cup whole-wheat flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup reduced-fat milk
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 ripe but firm peaches, (about 1 pound), pitted and sliced into eighths, or 3 1/2 cups frozen
    2 cups (1 pint) fresh or frozen blueberries
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.  Place butter and oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Heat in the oven until melted and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes.
3.  Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add milk, sugar and vanilla; stir to combine.
4.   Add the melted butter mixture to the batter and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the hot pan. Spoon peaches and blueberries evenly over the batter.
5.   Return the pan to the oven and bake until the top of the cobbler is browned and the batter around the fruit is completely set, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Per serving: 182 calories; 8 g fat ( 3 g sat , 3 g mono ); 11 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 3 g fiber; 212 mg sodium; 140 mg potassium.
Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2
Exchanges: 1/2 fruit, 1 1/2 carbohydrate (other), 1 1/2 fat

posted @ Sunday, August 5, 2012 2:11 AM


Comments on this entry:

# re: Meal Planning

Left by Hasta Karyolası at 7/27/2017 9:07 AM
Good post thanks admin.

Your comment:

 (will not be displayed.)

Please add 2 and 4 and type the answer here:

You must login to post comment.


Live Comment Preview: