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I don’t know why meal planning can be so difficult. It’s one of those things you know is going to help save you on so many levels. It brings order to the question what’s for dinner, it helps to save money by having a plan and it helps calm the anxiety around eating. If creating a meal plan can bring SO MUCH peace, then why is it so difficult?
In our house we are trying to maintain a Whole30 diet. I am gluten free and dairy free and my husband is dairy free. So meal planning is essential in our home, well… it really helps.
Recently, I realized that I haven’t been meal planning and because of that I have been making dinner off the seat of my pants. Let me tell you, this is SO EXHAUSTING! I pick up my kids from school and I ask them what we should have for dinner! Like my 8&10 year old are going to make dinner!!! What?!!!
Then a friend of mine sent me a note asking to be part of a super club. I love this idea! I love everything about it! However due to my dietary needs I didn’t feel comfortable joining. My friend came to me and asked for guidance because she has to learn how to create meals for dietary needs.
Meal Planning when there are dietary needs
Which made me think about you! How can I help you meal plan with your dietary needs? I have been cooking for 2 years with my GF lifestyle. This is how I do it.
When planning for my meals, I list the meats I am going to make. I generally have meat in the freezer that I bought on sale. Lately I have been getting meat for super cheap because of manager specials at my local grocery. Currently, I have a stockpile on chicken legs, burgers and pork tenderloins. I also have a few meals left over from my freezer meals that I made last month. You can read about those in this post.
Now that I know what meat I have, I look at the sides. I know that I am not going to be making anything with dairy or gluten. Which means my starch is usually potatoes or rice. I tend to stick to potatoes because the rice hurts my stomach. I don’t know why, but it does. We may have a gluten free pasta or corn tortillas. I will make flour tortillas for the kids if they would like that.
My final thought process is veggies and fruit. I try and make sure there are 3 offered at dinner. 2 veggies and 1 fruit. I don’t usually add that to the menu plan because I just grab whatever is in the fridge. I generally buy the same ones every week.
Oh! One last thought about grocery shopping. I save money at the grocery store using Ibotta. It is an app that has coupons for the food we buy at the store. By using it, I was able to save enough money to help me buy my Apple watch. You can click here and sign up for Ibotta and start to save money!
New food allergies in your home? Click this simple meal plan helps you learn how to meal plan for food allergies.
Tuesday Meal Plan
This is this weeks meal plan:
Chicken tacos, avocados, salsa, corn tortillas
Steak and potatoes, asparagus, fruit
Italian sausage, GF pasta and salad
Shrimp, mashed potatoes, fruit and veggies
Grilled chicken, carrots and watermelon
Fund raiser at Chipotle
Left over night
Maybe you have dietary needs and you are struggling how to change. I totally understand! It is so hard to change. In my house when I realized I had to be GF, I was the one who had to plan the meals so it made it easier for me. My husband is sensitive to my GF diet and he is pretty versed in what I can eat. Dining out can be a struggle, but we can’t go wrong with tacos!
What happens if it gets derailed
There is ALWAYS the chance that something will happen and you get derailed. I use my meal plan as a guide. If I get sick or a kid gets sick, there is always the option for an easy meal like mac and cheese. When that happens I generally have fruits and veggies for dinner. It happened this week actually! Since the meat is frozen I will just move that item to next week. It works out. I don’t waste a ton of food.
Watch for Tuesday’s Meal Plan next week!
I have made a decision to make 12 weeks of meal plans and post them. My goal is only to inspire you. Maybe the meal plans will help give you new ideas to what you want to serve your people. If I have a specific recipe I will link to it, but normally I just use regular spices and our meals are pretty boring. I’m going to try and post them on Tuesday so you can have them if you want to grab some idea’s for your meal plan.
I’m also doing some research on the best meal planner tools. Hopefully, next week I will have some to recommend to you! If you have a meal planning tool you use, I would love to hear about it! Leave a comment and tell me what it is!
Stephanie has been blogging at Sticky Note Mom for 4 years. Before starting her blog she worked in the finance industry working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade to working for major financial institutions with personal financial planning and the mortgage industry. Now she shares all she has learned about frugal living to help others learn how to stop spending and start saving more.