Thursday, November 11, 2010

Meal planning

Today I had the privilege of speaking at a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group.  I was invited to speak on saving money with meal planning.  In my own small circle, I am somewhat known (!) for being compulsive about lists and scheduling. 

To make it fun, I printed up several of the forms that I have used to sort of "refine" my meal planning strategy, and then took them through and exercise to plan out meals for the rest of November.

First, I had everyone in the group make a list of ten things that their family likes for dinner.  We all shared what we had, got ideas from each other.  Once we had our lists, I handed out calendars.  We marked the days we knew we wouldn't be cooking, days that we had activities and would need a "quick" meal, days we had time to try something new, etc.  Then, from the list of meals we had prepared, we started filling in the blanks.  I suggested they also think about items that they knew they already had on hand, and try to fill in meals utilizing some of those ingredients as well.

Once we had that done, I gave them a basic pre-printed grocery list (I have one I created in Excel) and we made up grocery lists for the meals we were cooking.

And....well, that is all there is to it!  We also talked about different recipes and easy variations (how many ways can you really make grilled chicken leg quarters?  You'd be surprised!), sources for new recipes, where to shop in our town for different ingredients and good deals......all kinds of fun stuff! 

What I really enjoyed, though, was when they all got talking and asking questions, and started getting animated, sharing ideas with each other.  It was just fun. 

There are some benefits to being on "the other side" of Titus 2!

And they gave me a St. Louis Bread Company gift card as a thank you!  How very cool is that!

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