Today I’ve got a real treat for you guys (pun intended): a guest post from a an in-real-life friend Paige, who also happens to run a cute journal-like lifestyle blog. Because I basically just had shelled peanuts for dinner last night, I’m in no position to tell you how to organize your meals. Paige is a much better resource for that.
Take it away Paige!
Hi everyone! My name is Paige and you can check out my little corner of the internet at Paigetopus. I’m here to do a guest post on something I love to organize! Because…
…It’s the month of October! And for my friend Stephanie here at Sandpaper & Glue, that means a month of posts all about organization! She recently shared a post about other people’s organizational habits
that are not only super smart but also super easy. I realized that you don’t need to have stuff
to organize in order to be organized.
That brings me to something I love to organize: meals! I’m a meal-planning fool. Every Sunday afternoon you can find me on my couch with my laptop open to all of my favorite food sites and my meal-planning board sitting by my side.
First, I open up Food On the Table
, which is a great site for getting recipes, making grocery lists and finding deals in your local stores. It allows you to pick the store that you shop at (I use Safeway or SaveMart [unfortunately Trader Joe’s is not on their list]) and it shows you deals based on recipes you add to your “cookbook” or items you add to your shopping list. In the recipes section, you can browse recipes based on your main protein (or vegetarian meals, if that’s your deal). Let’s say I’m feeling like shrimp, I can browse recipes with shrimp and they’ll include what items you’ll need as well as directions (and sometimes nutritional value!), and if you add the recipe, it automatically adds the ingredients to your shopping list! It’s super convenient because it will even include how much you need of each item.
If I’m not feeling the recipes there, I’ll browse my Pinterest food boards or just google recipes based on what sounds good, like “crock pot chicken” or the like. Sometimes the internet can be overwhelming though so I’ll go to my trusty, time-honored recipes in my recipe box. My mom put some of my favorite meals on recipe cards for me so that I always have delicious meals to make!
After finding some tasty recipes to fill my week, I jot down on my meal board what we’re having each day. My meal board is simple: a dry erase board, sectioned off with art tape into the days of the week (lunch and dinner) as well as my meals and my boyfriend’s meals. We live together but we don’t always eat the same stuff since our schedules differ, so it’s helpful to have space for both of our meals.
As I go along finding recipes, I make sure to see what I have in the fridge or pantry. That shrimp recipe calls for lemon, which I already have! I add everything else to my shopping list and then go to my grocery store’s site. If you’re on the west coast, Safeway has a program called Just For U, where you enter your most-frequently-purchased items and it gives you personalized deals as well as coupons. You browse the items and click “add to my card” so that you don’t have to deal with wasteful paper coupons. They’re the same as the inserts you get in the mail, so make sure to recycle those! When you purchase your items, you give them your member card (or phone number) and it automatically discounts the deals you’ve added. Lately I’ve been getting staple items at seriously discounted prices by using this program. I’ve gotten a whole loaf of bread for just $1! Make sure to check out your favorite grocer’s site so that you know you’re getting the best deals.
Finally, I make my way to the store with my shopping list (on my iPhone!) in hand. If you have a smart phone, the app version for FoodOnTheTable is wonderful. It gives you your grocery list broken up by sections of the store. As you pick up your items, you check it off the list! Your grocer might also have an app (like Safeway does) so that way you don’t forget what brand has that awesome 2 for $5 deal or the great BOGO price that you’ve added to your savings card.
A great bonus to having such an organized list is that I rarely deviate from the plan; I almost never buy things that aren’t on my list. That means less impulse buys and having exactly what I need throughout the week for my meals and snacks without having excess, wasted food. It also helps me to avoid junk food. If chocolate-covered, deliciously temping cookies aren’t on the list, then I don’t end up going down the snack aisle.
One final tip to keep in mind when food shopping: if you only have a few things on your list, get a basket, not a cart. When you only have enough room for the items you need, then you won’t go overboard.
So this is how I stay organized when it comes to meal planning and eating healthy. How do you make your meals easier? Do you meal plan? What are some of your favorite organizational skills for making dinner easier? Share them in the comments or visit my blog
for some tasty, easy recipes!
Are you interested in guest posting- maybe about organization? or an awesome project you’ve been working on? Email me at SandpaperAndGlue@gmail.com …that’s sandpaperandglue (at) wordpress (dot) com . I’d love to hear from you!