A meal planning blog series is something that I have been thinking about doing for a loooooong time now. The start of the new year seemed like the perfect opportunity to just get on with it. So here it is the 1st in what I hope to be a weekly thing. I am going to take you through my process of planning, purchasing and then creating the finished products…the meals! I want to keep each post relatively short so it doesn’t take up too much of either of our time to get through them. Hopefully with each one you will learn a new tip or trick to save money or time or money and time or something all together different yet equally awesome. If you have further questions about anything or if you have a brilliant idea to share then please feel free to comment below.
The 1st week of 2018 meal planning started out kind of whack for a few reasons. First off some of my favorite shops (ALDI’s and Trader Joe’s) were closed on New Years Day, when I had the time to shop. Second, ALDI’s weekly ad did not come out on Tuesday as it usually does. And as you will learn I live for those things. Lastly, when I got to Trader Joe’s they were sold out of half the stuff on my list. Especially frustrating because we are a car free household and most stores are at least a 2.5 mile walk away (or a bike ride, but not in this cold!). I still managed to load up a back pack though!
Anyway, the first step in my meal planning starts with the sales flyers that come out on Tuesdays. I plan my menu around the deals! Some of them come to my mailbox whether I want them to or not (I do not!) while others are delivered to my inbox. ALDI’s is my favorite-you can sign up here to have them delivered each week by email. Or go here to look at the current week’s deals, which are good from Wednesday’s to Tuesday’s. The deals generally become next week’s meals depending on the shelf life of each item, prep time and desire for that item.
Trader Joe’s doesn’t normally run sales but there are enough always low prices to keep me coming back for the staples.
Did you know? Both tempeh and tofu freeze well, so can be stockpiled without worrying that it will go bad. Tempeh will thaw after a few hours in the refrigerator while the tofu may take a day or two depending on it’s size. I like the high protein extra firm, but they were out of stock. Frozen fruit and veg are great to keep on hand too for when you run out of fresh and are in a pinch. Oh and forget Oreos-Joe Joe’s are so so much better!
Wholefoods has an app you can download for coupons and sales but I find the sales flyer is never all inclusive. Which means I still have to search the whole store to find all the sales. And the coupons are kind of meh…they were better before the app if you ask me. Anyone else find this to be true?
Giant Eagle is close enough, but I rarely bother with them. They tend to be more expensive and their selection is limited. However, if you have had luck with them then I suggest you take advantage of the Advantage Card for savings and digital coupons. Dorky pun intended!
The East End Food Co-op has an amazing bulk section where I get my steel cut oats, other whole grains and certain hard to find flours. They let you bring your own containers too! Sign up for email notifications for sales, co-op deals biweekly sales flyer and events on their website.
These are just the stores we have close to us. I will have to do a post down the road highlighting each one. Remind me later!
Here are the purchases for this week so far.
ALDI’s: vanilla soy milk, his and her pasta (he gets the refined and I get the whole), Pink Ladies ($1.69 for 3lbs!), avocados ($.69 each!), the new vegan burgers and chickenless products. (Sorry these deals ended Tuesday 1/2).
Trader Joe’s: tempeh, frozen wild blueberries, chocolate chips, whole wheat buns, Joe Joe’s, alcohol free vanilla, frozen spinach and almonds.
Target: maple syrup.
What to do with all this stuff?
Wild blueberry cardamom overnight oats is one idea.
A bunch of mix and match bowls for lunches.
Some burgers or pasta for dinner.
There are so many possibilities! Follow on Instagram to see some of the finished products!
Keep in mind everyone has different tastes, lifestyles and budgets. This is just my personal experience and opinions. If you like the 1st post in this series then please sign up to follow the blog so you never miss one!
©2018 ecoRDN 💚