This is something that I have just started in the last few months. I am definitely not as faithful as my sister-in-law, who educated me on the importance of a weekly dinner menu. But I am trying to get a system down and to stick with it. Wow, it does makes life so much easier!
Usually at the beginning of the new week, Sunday for me (as that is our Sabbath and we usually relax as a family on that day), I spend some time going through the fridge, freezers and cupboards and look for what food we have available. From there I try to plan meals. Each meal typically includes a protein and a vegetable. Sometimes we have bread or fruit also. But I at least make sure we have a protein and a veggie. Our family of four, myself, my husband, a four year old, and a nine month old eat on an average weekly budget of $40. Typically I go to the store (Aldi, Sam's, or what is on sale at Kroger) every two weeks or so, sometimes every three weeks and stock up on the necessities. From there, I try to be creative and feed us from what I have purchased.
Here is a sample of what our weekly menu may look like...
chicken (a whole roasted chicken cut in pieces), mashed potatoes and steamed cabbage
turkey burgers, steamed broccoli and cauliflower with cheese
spinach quiche, cottage fried potatoes w/onion and bread w/honey or jam
baked fish, brown rice and brussel sprouts
tuna noodle casserole and zucchini
We also have a garden right now, so that helps with the zucchini, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, and spinach.
We are beginning to live a different life than we did several months ago. Before I had my second son, I was a huge coupon addict. We ate from what I had coupons for the majority of the time and I got tons of free health and beauty items, paper products and just all kinds of misc. stuff. Then I had E and realized that shopping with a four year old and a nine month old by myself, with coupons, was too stressful for me. I also started to evaluate how much time I was spending cutting coupons, organizing them, running from store to store and organizing my stockpile. But the thing that really changed my mind, was the fact that what I was buying was packaged, processed, chemical filled, and not what I wanted my family to put in their bodies. So, now I am trying to buy healthy foods, with little packaging, and really evaluate what I am putting in my body. I want to be an example for my boys and to teach them while they are young how good healthy food can taste.
Breakfast around here usually consists of oatmeal, eggs & toast, whole wheat pancakes with fruit, sometimes waffles (not so good for you!) in the waffle maker ( I haven't found a whole wheat recipe that won't stick to our waffle maker), or I regularly like to have what my mom calls a "monkey shake" which is milk, whey protein, frozen banana, & peanut butter in the blender. Mmmm yummy!!! I could eat breakfast foods for every meal!
Lunch around here looks like a lot of peanut butter sandwhiches (my homemade whole wheat bread, natural pb, and honey), spaghetti and carrot sticks (S doesn't like red sauce, so we don't eat spaghetti for dinner), tuna noodle casserole, dinner leftovers, homemade pizza, or quiche and toast.
I do have a book that I use that has my favorite recipes, a list of meals that I know our family likes ( so I have something to pull from if my memory goes blank), and substitution lists (which I live by). This came about as I have found recipes that we really like and as I have tweaked recipes to meet our needs (trying to eat little white flour or sugar).
We are pretty basic people, trying to live the best we know how for today. I hope I learn more tomorrow, and the next day, that will change our lives and others for the better.