Meal planning is an important part of making the money last. Here are some things I recommend for creating a family meal plan.
- Take inventory of what you have on hand. Use this handout as an inventory page instead of a shopping list.
- Sit down with a calendar of your family schedule. Know what you have happening each day and decide how to plan your meals. Should you prep in the morning and leave dinner in a crock pot for later or if you will have time to prepare a meal in the late afternoon. What about lunch time, where will you be?
- Have Rachel's list in front of you or the grocery ads from your favorite store.
- Plan meals that will help you use what you have already on hand and write down what grocery items you need to complete meals.
- Use a list when you shop to keep from spending money on food that will not go towards a specific meal.
Use these items to decide what you have and what you need. Plan your meals to include all 5 food groups based upon the USDA MyPlate recommendation. Don't forget to plan snacks as well to help you from grabbing quick, less healthy snacks when you become hungry.
This week on Rachel's list my favorite buy is the Barilla Pasta. Smiths has a "buy 10 and save $5" which makes the pasta $.49 per lb. Pasta keeps in the pantry for a long time. This is one item you should really stock up on. There are so many different ways to use pasta that you will always have a meal to fall back on for those busy night. Pasta cooks up quickly and can be topped with a variety of sauces like marinara, pesto, and alfredo. It can also be used in salads, soups, casseroles, skillets and sides. If you are doing pasta and a sauce make it a MyPlate meal by adding a green salad. Reams has DOLE Salads for $1.39 this week. Rancho Market has a variety of fresh vegetables on sale like, radishes, green onions, 1lb carrot bags all 4 for $1 on Wednesday and Thursday.
As we are heading into spring start watching for Strawberries to drop in price. They will keep moving down as we get closer to summer peaking May-June. When they are below $1 per pound that's when you want to purchase a lot and make enough strawberry jam to last all year.
With Easter less than 2 weeks away, Ham, frozen dough and other traditional Easter meal items will start going on sale. These are things you can keep in a freezer and prepare at another time.