How do YOU do food?

Change has been all for the BETTER lately, as has the four-day weekend. But! One thing they have not been good for is creating new routines.

We’re now a bit further away from butcher/grocer (though we’re still super close to a supermarket) and T has started playing sports again, with training twice a week. Add to that the fact he’s knocking back protein shakes all the time and you can see why we haven’t found our food groove yet. Plus, we tend to do one shared dinner a week on Sunday or Monday with the flatties.

A lot of people seem to swear by intense organisation – but that’s definitely not our style.

For one, we tend to go by what’s fresh and on special. (Supermarkets do mailers detailing weekly sales but butchers and grocers do not.)

For another, T does most of our dinner cooking, and he’s definitely not a recipe kinda guy. That said, we both get into pretty serious food ruts that can be quite paralysing.

Neither of us are into prepping stuff ahead of time, either. (Sometimes I’ll make a few days of lunches on Sunday and that’s about it. Lunchwise he has an awesome inhouse cafeteria where he’s working so that’s him sorted.) But maybe it’s worth a go, at least with certain kinds of veggies.

I guess I’m just trying to figure out the best way to integrate a bit of planning and getting meal inspiration (which for me comes from recipes online and for him probably more like food shows).

Tell me:

Where do you do your grocery shopping?

Do you actively meal plan?

Do you prep ingredients ahead of time?

13 thoughts on “How do YOU do food?

  • Reply Rhonda Albom April 8, 2015 at 00:23

    I have a hubby that likes to do the cooking too, without a recipe. And without organization. Our meal time has about a three hour range.

  • Reply Kara April 8, 2015 at 01:51

    We do most of our grocery shopping in the supermarket or warehouse store, and I plan/cook all of our meals while my husband is at work. On the weekend though, it’s his turn in the kitchen. 🙂

  • Reply Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way April 8, 2015 at 02:07

    I love going to the grocery store every week and I also love cooking. Usually, I don’t have a meal plan but I always make sure that our food will last for 1 week as what I have budgeted.

  • Reply The Asian Pear April 8, 2015 at 04:54

    I shop all over the place. It depends on what’s on sale. There are multiple grocery stores near me so I have options. What I generally do is go through the flyers Thursday night when they arrive to see what’s on sale. From that, I make a meal plan (sorta – or at least know what’s on sale and see what inspires me.) Then we go shopping on Saturday where I’ll get my groceries for the week. I don’t really prep ahead of time (unless it’s meat marination.) I do occasionally make a HUGE pot of something and just eat that for a few days to spare time.

  • Reply Jenny April 8, 2015 at 10:00

    I’m always in awe of the people that can dedicate a day to full on meal prep for the week – the closest I get are the occasions I make a loaf of cheese sandwiches and put them in the freezer.

    I used to be great at meal planning but I’ve lost my way a little recently but I do feel the need to get a little more structure around meals again since failure to plan usually means I spend more money.

    For inspiration, I follow this blog:

  • Reply Linda April 8, 2015 at 11:15

    I shop at a few supermarkets depending on how far I’m willing to drive. The one closest to me isn’t very large, but they have most of what I need. There is a fantastic butcher in town, but it’s expensive and I’ve only shopped there once as a treat. Once the farmers market starts up, I imagine I’ll be going to that regularly in addition to the supermarket.

    I sort of meal plan. I try to think about stuff to make for the week before I go to the store, or at least while I’m there I may jot stuff down as I see what’s available. In my early days with a super tight budget I planned exactly what I was going to buy and make based on the sale papers, but now I rarely bother with that. I know generally what I like and want to keep on hand and improvise from there.

    I often try to cook some sort of roast and eat off it for several days. I keep some frozen veggies on hand in case I’m running low on fresh ones and don’t want to go to the store. I always have some cans of tuna or fish on hand, as well as cheese, so a lazy meal one night may be cheese, crackers, and pickles or canned sardines with crackers and a side salad. Since I’m trying to eat a lot veggies, I almost always include veggies of some kind even if it’s just frozen green beans cooked in the microwave and drizzled with olive oil and garlic salt. The other day, I had some bagged chopped kale and leftover pork roast in the fridge so I sauteed the kale in chicken broth (I always have some on hand), added some chopped figs (any type of dried fruit would have done here), added sliced pork roast to the pan, and then covered for a bit until it was all warmed through. That was dinner. 🙂

    I love leftovers, so I try to have some on hand either from making a recipe at home that feeds more than one (not hard to do!), the leftover roast whatever (chicken, pork roast, etc.), or bringing home leftovers from a meal out. Does that count as meal planning?

  • Reply Abigail @ipickuppennies April 9, 2015 at 09:25

    We’re terrible about food. We don’t cook pretty much ever. I’ve tried time and time again to make it part of our routine, but it never works for more than a week or two.

    These days, I rely on protein shakes/bars for my daytime meals. Not cheap, but still cheaper than even a fast food lunch. And healthier.

    I’m working my way up to asking my MIL to start making more food. She’s out in the guest house, and I’m sure she’ll be delighted to do it. She pops by sometimes to ask if we’re hungry anyway.

    I’ll give her some money. Even if it doesn’t end up being cheaper (and it almost certainly will) at least I’d be eating healthier.

  • Reply nicoleandmaggie April 9, 2015 at 11:11

    We meal plan because if we didn’t, we’d end up ordering pizza 5 days a week and having quesadillas or eggs the other two.

    What we generally do is go through cookbooks in rough order with some thought to variety for each week. https://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/mental-load-and-menu-planning/ Right now we have about 5 books that we’re going through systematically (along with some favorite non-recipe meals).

  • Reply Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank April 9, 2015 at 20:28

    I am leaving the meal planning task to my wife. She seems pretty good at it as every meal is always delicious (I just don’t know how much she allocates for those ingredients). Another, she is 1-week ahead, as always.

  • Reply Young Millennial April 9, 2015 at 22:24

    We have been using a grocery delivery service for a couple of months now that has tremendously helped with our meal planning. Normally we opt for the seasonal deliveries from local farms, but sometimes we add groceries to the weekly delivery. Each delivery comes with several recipes that would use up most of the vegetables and cover us for 6 to 8 meals that week. The rest is cooked by the wife depending on what she feels like eating so she stops by a supermarket almost daily to get additional groceries or meat.

    On weekends we tend to prepare more complex meals that might require several hours of prep and cook time while watching Netflix. Grocery expenses have been a problem for us since we like to eat well, but we are experimenting.

  • Reply Sally April 10, 2015 at 04:05

    I wish I knew how to meal plan, but I have yet to implement a rigorous, disciplined meal plan. Like you, R makes a lot of the meals in the house, but since he’s on crutches for another 4 weeks since his ACL surgery, I have been doing all of the meals. I bring lunch at least 4 days a week to work, but I only prep it the night before, maybe 2 days of lunches max. I also shop the sale items and then get all the staples from Trader Joe’s because it’s cheap and seems more “natural” than the regular grocery store, plus their munchies/snacks are unbeatable. I guess the good habits we have are we really don’t do takeout, and going out to dinner is for special occasions, unless it’s a cheap bite ($7-$10 pizza/burgers) with friends. I make green smoothies for breakfast at least 2x week (but aim for more) and that helps me get veggies, plus we’ll do some broccoli, salad, or brussel sprouts as a side dish with dinner most nights. Also, when I make Iranian food, the portions are huge and last us for days. Most of the stuff we make really doesn’t need prep ahead of time, but it would be be nice to make it an established habit to make my work lunches twice a week (2 or 3 meals at a time) so that I don’t really think about it. One set could come from leftovers, and the other set could be veggies and protein dishes. Also, I need to stop buying potato chips every time I go to the grocery store.

  • Reply saverspender April 10, 2015 at 05:46

    Where do you do your grocery shopping?

    Local cheap grocery store.. the cheapest prices possible because we only buy raw stuff.

    Do you actively meal plan?

    Not really. I just think about what I want to eat and make a grocery list for that week.

    Do you prep ingredients ahead of time?

    Yes. I cut all the veggies ahead of time and store them, and I also mass cook all my lunches on Sunday ahead of time

  • Reply Michelle April 10, 2015 at 17:28

    I eat very healthy but I do incorporate the following into my grocery plan: I have a kick a@@ pantry. Really, I have a very large and diverse range of ingredients ranging from: kimchi to preserved lemons.

    I am also continuously discovering new meals…because I love food 🙂 I only grocery shop once a week usually on Saturday (after taking some time to check what’s in my pantry) then I will get all the fresh veggies and fruits that I need for the week.

    I do create a loose meal plan, but am comfortable changing it as long as I have everything in the house to make whatever I decided I wanted to have.

    As for prep: I may marinate meats and put them in the freezer to thaw out later. Or, I will make several meals on Saturday for the beginning of the week. The warmer it gets the colder my food gets. So, it’s easier for me to prep meals during the winter because I make stews, soups, bake chicken, etc. During warmer months I’m eating tons of salads and cold noodle meals…so, I usually will prep as I prepare the meal.

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