Hi! I'm Sydney. I'm a stay-at-home mom of three, and I cook homemade meals for my Colorado family every week.
Each weekend, I plan all my family's meals for the upcoming week. This includes choosing the recipes I will make — via the internet and cookbooks — plus the actual shopping.
With meal planning, upfront preparation is key — but it's also the most challenging thing. Here are a few tips and tricks that I use each week:
1) I pick recipes with ingredients that can be used for multiple meals (and in multiple ways). This also includes getting creative with leftovers. Sometimes eating leftovers all the time can get old, but I try to remember that I can always use different components of my leftovers to create new ones.
2) I look at what's on sale. For example, this week I was able to get six ears of corn for $2!
3) I buy the cheapest store brand most of the time. Unless it's something that I'm unable to use due to the peanut allergy (or if a different brand is on sale), store brand it is.
4) I ask my kids to help me! Feeding kids is a challenge. They change their minds constantly, and they seemingly get new taste buds every meal. When I ask them to help pick out recipes (usually by them looking at pictures), I find that they are more excited to eat them.
My kids are small, so I'm really able to make $100 go a long way — as long as it's coupled with a plan.
This past week, my groceries rang in at $100.28. This includes all breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. I found my recipes on Tasty and input all my ingredients into my local grocery store's app.
Planning-wise, the big thing I kept in mind for the week ahead was that I wanted meals that were easier than usual — both in prep and cleanup.
All three of my kids are home right now for summer break, so anything I prepare, I have to do in between taking care of them. I also had an appointment coming up one afternoon this week, meaning I wouldn't be home to prep dinner as usual. So I knew I had to be extra strategic about stretching leftovers.