I have had a few friends and family members ask me about how I plan our weekly meals and do my grocery shopping so I figured I would write a post about it that I can refer everyone back to who is interested. I pretty much loathe grocery shopping so I try and plan it so that I only have to go once, maybe twice per week, and we do not get takeout or go out to eat at all (with the exception of a special birthday brunch or when we are visiting Seattle) so this means I am planning for three meals a day, seven days a week, every single week. In order for me to be able to do this without completely losing my mind, I have implemented a meal schedule. The schedule really helps get my toddler excited about meals too because he can predict what’s for dinner by what day of the week it is and knows when his favorites are coming up. I love it because I never have to worry about not having what I need to make a meal since I have it planned out ahead of time and also because I always buy exactly what I know we will use so we almost never have to throw out anything that’s gone bad. I always try to cook larger dinners than what we can eat and plan on saving what’s leftover for lunch the next day because cooking two meals a day for four people is enough work as it is! So here is what our current schedule looks like.
- Monday: Daal. This recipe doesn’t change from week to week and is a favorite of all of ours. I stock up on rice and lentils in bulk and keep a full spice drawer so I pretty much always have everything I need to make this without a lot of thought, time, or money going into it.
- Tuesday: TACO TUESDAY aka one of the best days of the week! I use the term “taco Tuesday” loosely because we will have pretty much anything Mexican themed. We’ve done burritos or bowls, tortilla soup, enchiladas (my fave), nachos, taquitos, quesadillas, taco salad and just about every variety of taco you can come up with so it really never gets old.
- Wednesday & Thursday: these are my two days without a specific plan. In the spring or summer I will often do some kind of big salad for easily packable leftovers for park play dates or outings. One of the days is frequently a curry or stir fry which I love to make because I can get a ton of veggies in one meal. I also really like to do slow cooker meals and use the opportunity to prep extra servings for freezer meals to keep on hand for busy days.
- Friday: Pizza Friday is another super exciting day around here. I make my own grain free pizza crust in double batches every two weeks, using two and then freezing the extras for the following week. I have a couple pizza recipes that I love on rotation (one of which I completely invented myself and am super proud of, I will have to share that recipe sometime) but we also are always down to experiment with new sauces and topping combinations. Lincoln always helps me make the pizzas and it’s one of those special things we look forward to doing together every week.
- Saturday: Steak Saturday. I came up with this one last summer when I was pregnant and just needed a little bit of a break from cooking. I would have Josh go to the butcher and pick up a steak and then go out to the garden and grab some veggies and just grill it all up while I sat on the couch and relaxed! It looks a little different in the winter when I prepare some veggie sides in the kitchen but he still grills up the steak for us every week.
- Sunday: Soup Sunday! I really love soup days because it’s a great way to get lots of nourishing bone broth into our tummies and also because it’s super easy to make big batches and freeze jars of it for easy lunches later on. This year I’ve been obsessed with puréed veggie soups, rotating through whatever is currently in season. We like to serve our soup with lots of sourdough bread and butter.
- Like I mentioned earlier, we rely a lot on leftovers for lunch. It’s easy to just reheat (or not even that if it’s a salad) and I can portion it out the night before for Josh to take to work or for the kids and I to take if we are going out the next day so I can get away with doing almost nothing at lunch time. #goals
- Pizza and steak nights never make leftovers so on weekends we either defrost some soup from the freezer and have it with some crackers or we do snack platters of crackers and cheese, veggies and hummus, pickled veggies, maybe some tortilla chips and guacamole, things like that. I buy the individually portioned hummuses and guacs and big boxes of our favorite crackers from Costco to keep on hand for this or days when Lincoln doesn’t want our leftovers or if we get invited out last minute and need something to grab and go.
- I love breakfast! For one thing I’m always starving in the morning, but what I really like is the simplicity of the morning meal. I am someone who could eat the same thing for breakfast every single day and be totally happy about it. During pregnancy it was soft boiled eggs and avocado toast, since having Marley it’s been scrambled eggs, buttered toast and sauerkraut (and coffee because #momlife). Josh goes through phases and will either skip breakfast or just have what I’m having.
- Lincoln is more specific in his breakfast needs. Some days he will accept scrambled eggs and honey toast which makes my life super easy. Other days he insists on porridge (we do a cream of buckwheat with collagen, coconut milk and oil, dates or honey) or a fried egg and cheese sandwich. On Mondays he and Josh will have leftover steak and eggs together.
- Sunday is pancake day in our house! Lincoln usually helps me mix up the batter and I also cook up some sausages to go with them. Josh and Linky love banana pancakes with peanut butter and syrup, I like blueberry, poor Marley has yet to try one.
- If we have an early morning outing or appointment I will spend a couple of minutes the night before hard boiling some eggs and taking some muffins out of the freezer to defrost. Lincoln and I bake a big batch of muffins every five or six weeks and freeze them for busy mornings and it has been a lifesaver many times.
- In our home we loosely follow the Weston A Price Foundation guidelines for feeding babies (and all of us really) so this means that before age one we don’t do any grains, legumes, nuts, sugar, egg whites, and probably some other things I’m forgetting at the moment (#mombrain). I don’t like to spend tons of time making special baby food so right now Marley eats what we eat as much as she can. Sometimes it’s only parts of our meal, sometimes it’s the same but with less spice (although my babies have been big on bold flavors and spices from early on), and sometimes she needs a totally separate meal (like daal or pizza night).
- When making my grocery list I make sure to include some extra items just for her that I can prep and keep in the fridge for her special meals. I always try to have some cooked chicken, mashed sweet potato, and avocados on hand as well as strawberries and other fruits, pickled vegetables which she really enjoys, frozen peas which I cook up with lots of butter and of course eggs. She has a scrambled egg yolk (or two) every morning for breakfast with some fruit and kraut.
And that’s about it! I spend about an hour a week looking up recipes, planning our meals, and making my grocery list. I also keep a running grocery list on my phone so whenever I run out of something or think of a random thing we need it goes on there and it’s categorized by which store I purchase it from so it’s easy for me to get in and out of each place without forgetting anything. Some weeks if I am feeling super inspired to try a bunch of new things it takes a bit longer to put it all together, but there’s also weeks where I just pick my easiest, most tried and true recipes (or just plan to pull some meals from the freezer) where it takes almost no time at all. It does require a little bit of thought and a willingness to stick to a schedule but it gives me so much peace of mind to know that I don’t have to deal with the dreaded “what’s for dinner?” dilemma in the afternoon (my crankiest and most uninspired time of day) or scramble around looking for something to feed the hangry kiddos at lunchtime. I control what goes into our bodies and I can make the most out of my ingredients without wasting money on things we don’t need or won’t use. Any tips to share? Leave them in the comments!