Meal Planning, Grocery Shopping & Meal Prep for Haters

I have a confession.  I'm a hater.  I'm a hater of meal planning.  I'm a hater of grocery shopping.  I'm a hater of cooking.  Until recently.

A friend introduced me to emeals and it made such a difference in meal planning and grocery shopping.  There was still only one problem.  I wasn't doing it consistently and I had to stay on a budget.  It took me a good while to put it all together but I think I found some strategies that have been super helpful.  Does anyone else struggle with this?  If so, check out these pointers:

  • Figure out your weekly budget for groceries.  If you do a monthly budget, break it down to what you can spend each week.  (We are huge advocates of Dave Ramsey's FPU!)

  • Pick a day of the week to create your weekly meal plan and stick with it!  Like I said, I hate meal planning so Emeals has made this option more realistic for me.

  • Pick a day of the week to grocery shop and prep your meals for the week.  In my experience, this takes up a good chunk of time so account for that.  On average, I would say I spend  4-5 hours doing this from the time I leave my house until the kitchen is cleaned up... with life distractions happening every once in awhile during that time.

  • When shopping, stick to your list first to make sure you are within budget.  If  you have extra at the end, you go back for some kickin' deals or some things that are wanted.

  • Personally, I don't worry too much about breakfast and lunch.  We have a pretty basic/same breakfast most the time (cereal or muffins for Rheya and eggs/tacos for Marcus and I).  I can usually get creative with lunches between left overs, staple ingredients, left over meal ingredients and the extras I pick up every once in awhile when we have extra in our budget.

  • When prepping, have your essentials out and ready to go to make the process quicker.  I like to keep my working area clean as I go so I don't go insane with the mess.

The benefits of prepping your meals at the beginning of the weak:

  • More often than not, a meal does not need the entire amount of an ingredient, especially vegetables.  While I'm prepping, I will wash, cut, and package those items so it is convenient to eat as snacks or with meals.

  • I hate when I clean out the fridge and have to throw away so much food that has gone bad.  Prepping everything eliminates so much waste!  

  • If you have any animals or you compost, talk about the treat!  All the scraps are gathered at one time, simplifying the process.

  • Meal time cooking is a breeze!

A couple things I've learned about Emeals and our budget:

  • On occasion, some of the meals will call for an ingredient that puts us way over budget either because the amount it calls for or because the ingredient is out of season.  In that case, I modify or change it up a bit.

  • We have our meal plan set up for 4-6 servings, so we typically have left overs.  I try to pick a couple meals per week that can be frozen for later meals, which also helps a ton with budgeting.  

I hope this helps some of my fellow haters out there!  In the video, I referred to the busy mamas but this isn't just for the mamas.  I know there are a ton of hard working single ladies and goal-diggin' difference makers out there who could use this too.  Love to you all!