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Friday, October 11, 2013

Lifestyle Post: Meal Planning and How We Shop

I have a different kind of post today. I thought I might throw in a lifestyle blog post to change this up a bit. We are all aware that buying food and feeding a family can be expensive, As the stay at home parent at this time (due to medical leave), I take on the responsibility of planning meals for our family. We are a family of four and eat a traditional diet.  The way we shop will not work for everyone as there may be different needs and choices. We do not have to consider allergies or religious preference with our meals. I know there are families that must consider these and many more when planning and shopping for food.

We try to eat as healthy as possible with minimal processed foods, whole grains, in season fresh fruits and veggies, and healthy proteins and fats with an eye toward organics and local food when possible.  We do enjoy chips, crackers, sweets, and even limited diet soft drinks on occasion. Our mantra is everything in moderation works for us. I will also say that we are working on lowering our weight with portion control for the adults. We have a 13 yr old and a 9 year old who are encouraged to make healthy choices. Thus, my husband and I try to limit the amounts of junk brought into the house.

Now on to how and where we shop: We typically shop for the majority of food at our local Aldi. I'll be honest, I have changed my tune about Aldi. I thought it was a junk store with gross off label products. I am so glad I am more open minded. Almost every product we have bought has exceeded our expectations. Most items especially dairy and meat products are as good or better than our local supermarket(Publix). We can't always find every thing we need there, so we pick up those items at Publix, Winn Dixie , Wal-mart or Target SuperCenter. My grocery bill has gone from around $300/week to $125 or less weekly.

I do not typically clip coupons for every day items. However, I will clip those for items that we prefer in brand name when possible. I do not stock-pile shop. In the past, I tried this but found I spent the majority of my food budget on random and highly processed foods. I do try to buy household goods and the like when on sale.

How we plan:  By shopping at Aldi, we are not limited in our meal plan. We do not have to buy what is on sale and plan around those items. So, I feel that this type of shopping gives me more flexibility and variety. I have a list of over 100 meals that my family likes eating to give me ideas. I do try to have one new meal each week. I use Pinterest and Google plus my favorite blogs to help with this each week. Our weekly plan consists of a different cuisine or type each night: this really helps to plan out different meals and not get in a same thing every night rut.

Here is our meal plan for the next few nights.

Friday:  Roast Night

Perfect Roast Chicken 
Healthy Homemade Mashed Potatoes
Outback Steak House Steamed Green Beans 

Saturday:  Since we will be watching our favorite teams football games it will be football food!
Heart Healthy Slow Cooker Chili (with fixins) made with ground turkey, 3 types of beans, and fresh veggies YUM!
Steamed Rice
Cast Iron skillet cornbread

Baked Potato Bar
Fruit Platter

SkinnyChicken Parmesan Bake
Lemon Pepper Steamed Broccoli

Easy Crescent Taco Bake (using leftover chili)
Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro Dressing

Wednesday:  My daughter wanted to start cooking one night so this is something easy that she can do!
Grilled Brats (on indoor grill) with whole wheat buns
Baked Seasoned Waffle Fries
Best Baked Beans (sans bacon)

Slow Cooker Korean Beef
Stir Fry Veggies
Brown Rice

So, it a simple kid friendly week at our house.  What's on your meal plan? Do you meal plan or not? Let me know in the comments.

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