Sooooooo... I last left you after I completed my meal plan and wrote out my grocery list. (Get a quick refresher here!) I know that this seems unfeasible at times, but I wanted to share this because I went grocery shopping on a Wednesday morning (ahem the start of the new sales for the week) with list in hand, and I was in and out of there in under 30 minutes! This is a huge time difference compared to aimlessly walking around the store with a “I guess I could use that”-type of approach. (You know what I'm talking about.)
Once I got home from my quick trip to the grocery store, I knew I needed to do some food prep.
Guys — total honestly here — I have let a lot of food go to waste in the past... partly because of my super busy schedule and partly due to laziness. I used to look at the contents of my fridge — produce not chopped or washed and ready to eat, etc. — I would think, "Forget it! I’ll just pick up something on the way to work/school/< enter destination here>." Days would go by and finally on my off day, when I actually had time to put together on-the-go snacks, breakfasts, and lunches -- my food would either be on the cusp of going bad or already spoiled!
Anyway, it is this step -- food prep -- that I found to be my key to success during the week. Immediately after getting home from the grocery store, I went ahead and cut up and washed my fruits and veggies that I purchased. Throughout the week, I found it effortless to throw together my salads and snacks that I had planned. When it was time to cook, my onions, peppers, and other veggies were already prepped, which cut kitchen time to an estimated one-third of what my recipes predicted! I used some other food prep hacks to help me, as well — I boiled a dozen eggs at the beginning of my week for quick protein to add to salads or even to eat as part of what I like to call “snack mix dinners” (boiled egg, nuts, raw veggies and Greek yogurt dip, whole wheat crackers and cheese cubes).
Now, of course this week wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine… because it did rain... a lot… BUT it was a learning experience! One of the dinners I had planned got put on the back burner because the fiancé wanted to out to eat on Saturday. No problem! The frozen ground beef is still in the freezer to be used another time, and my dry pasta and jarred sauce are not going bad anytime soon. (Seriously, shop your pantry -- you will be surprised at what you can make with what you already have!)
The point is, is that this was the first time in a long time that I did not stress once over what and how I was going to feed my family. I had my meal plan, and for the most part, I stuck to it -- and I was successful because of The Meal Planning Method!