I do, I just recently started doing it because I started a new job and a new weight loss diet plan at the same time last month (so I'm by no means an expert). Basically, I'm doing a low carb diet or ketogenic diet. I have always tried to grocery shop only once a week and meal plan but that never really worked out over the long term and with fickle tastes in my household.
Basically, on my sunday (which is everyone else's thursday) I shop and then prepare my basics, which are:
12 roasted chicken thighs
a 3 lbs meatloaf
1 lbs of bacon
18 hard boiled eggs
two cauliflower heads made into cauli-mash
and I cut up veggies to grab and go.
I have to-go trays that are like bento boxes with three compartments and I put a days worth of food in one tray. So, this week I have cauli-mash, one chicken thigh, a slice of meatloaf, an egg, a slice of bacon, and seeded and halved mini sweet peppers (they were two for one bags), and a wedge of laughing cow cheese. That's almost 800 calories in the one tray, and less then 14 net carbs. Then I'll have a few snacks throughout the day like cheese sticks, extra veggies dipped in ranch, or a protein bar. The kiddo seems to enjoy the cauli-mash just fine so I'm not making any additional foods for him, he can eat his carbs in bread and cereal of he wants, lol.
Its been pretty easy to get in the habit of meal planning, the hard part is sticking to the plan through the whole week and not going off the deep end with take out when you get bored. I got the chicken thighs and the ground beef for 50% off this week. Shopping on Thursday is a godsend for me because our store restocks on Fridays after the freight ship comes in and offloads on Thursday night, so they clearance a lot of stuff.
My ideal is the following: on Sunday, I prep a huge container of cut-up veggies for the week: carrots sticks, celery sticks, cucumbers, peppers, etc.
I'll also cut up a big block of cheese and store in a plastic container
I try to have a baked item (different each week) for breakfasts and/or snacks: muffins, oat bars, etc...
If I'm really organised, or it'll be a crazy week, I cut and prep the veggie portion of our meals, and stash in labeled containers for each day. I'll also put any meat in the marinade in the freezer, etc...
Depending on the meal plan for the week, I can also cook a big batch of grains, either rice, barley, etc...
Finally, at night before going to bed, I prep jars of oats to soak for our morning oatmeal, one for me (dairy free) and one for the little one (full fat milk).
Am I always this organised? Absolutely NOT! However, weeks do go by more smoothly when I am!
I use to do more than I do now.. I keep a running list of things that I need. I get my work schedule on Friday afternoon and I work at a grocery store.. I pick up work schedule and things on list that I am out or low on if they are on sale. My meals are planned out as to what I work so it is easy to do them. I am a big left over remake person so many times meals are made with this in mind..
Our life is super crazy so we never know if we'll even be home for dinner. So much for planning.
When I did plan I just wrote a menu and bought the groceries ahead, if able. If lots of prep was needed, I'd do it the night before. If that included pre-cooking something, I'd do it while cleaning up from that night's dinner since I was in the kitchen anyway.
Most of what I cook is FAST! I can get dinner ready in 30 minutes or less.
I'm not sure if this pertains to the question or not..
I'm the type of person that always needs to be prepared..it's my personality or maybe it's OCD I have no idea.
I tend to buy meat in *bulk* when there is a good sale and then have a *huge* cooking session.. if it happens to be chicken breast that's on sale I make buffalo chicken chunks, chicken masala, chicken franchise, breaded fried chicken breast etc (all cooked).... If it's Italian sausage that is on sale I cook it with onions and peppers and beer sausage or cut into slices that
I sauteed for a pizza topping this is all foodsdaver and put into freezer... hamburger is turned into *many* meatballs, Swedish meatballs that is cooked and foodsavered and put in the freezer..I've even cooked up corned beef and foodsavered that.. so I just pull them out of the freezer at any given time make a few side's and there is dinner.
I also have many home canned meat's like meatloaf, tomato sauce w/meat, chili, hamburger, chicken, taco meat, beef in a wine sauce, corned beef chunks etc.. so it boils down to I'm prepared without having to always prep my weekly meals.
When mushrooms are on sale I sautéed them then put in freezer bags so I always have fresh mushrooms..I dice up onions and celery put them in baggies pop in the freezer for my soups.
I just recently made up lots of pizza dough and Italian sub dough put into freezer bags so when ever I what ever dough I want to use I just pull it from the freezer.
I make up several baggies with measured ingredients for whenever I want to make homemade bread.. haven't froze bread dough yet probably should..
I don't prepare or plan.......since I am retired, I just fly by the seat of my pants.....sometimes it's just sandwiches and other times it's homemade lasagna....my freezer is full at all times so it's pretty easy....all depends on how I feel or what I have to do that day.....
I work but don't make meal planning a "habit". Sometimes I do enough for 2 or 3 days but most of the time no. I'll do a couple weeks in a row then quit.
I agree it would make evenings easier but there's that.
I, myself, can and will eat the same thing 3 or 4 days in a row. By far not a foodie. Hubs on the other hand isn't a fan of doing that. He doesn't have a problem with same divided thru the entire week though.
Now making soup such as chili or the like and putting some in the freezer is another thing. That I do ever so often. But a meal... not much.
I guess the biggest one I do is when I make chicken chunks seasoned with various seasonings. I'll make way more than enough and use them in different ways or just eat them the way they are. He's good for MAYBE twice like that. I did 4 times last week.
I work away from home, leave on Sunday and return on Friday morning, working 4-10s. We cook a lot on the weekends and make big batches to freeze/pack for me to take to take with me for the week. This help me to not eat at the cafeteria which isn't expensive (less than $4.50/day) but it all adds up. When I get home I'm exhausted and there is no place to go out and eat within 30 miles so this helps me to eat a decent meal at night. I also pack snacks and lots of fruits that are easy to munch on.
I just found the web site www.budgetbytes.com They seem to have a lot of good ideas and she lists low-cost recipes that prepare 4 meals so you might put away a few meals each time. Look under the "Extra Bytes" tab. She also did some SNAP challenge weeks and lists those out.
Today I'm making 2 loaves of bread and okra/tomato/rice dish that will stretch pretty far. I plan to eat PBJ for lunch several times and have 3 HB eggs, so maybe egg salad once.
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