First Week of Meal Planning

One of my biggest goals right now – starting officially when my husband went back to work – and going into the winter months, is to meal plan, budget meals/food and bake more. I know that this will help out myself and our family so so so much! Before, or up until this point, I’ve literally gone to the store the day before or the day of to try and figure out what I’m making for dinner that night. Or, I’ll leave for work at 5pm and my husband will ask what’s for dinner and I’ll go, umm.. Not only does this cause stress for us, but it also makes us spend more money because we are buying things last minute.

Technically, this has been (so far) my first week of officially meal planning. I still have a lot to learn and a lot of things to improve on and tweak, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far.  ( In 4 days- ha!) I hope to share our plans every week to help me stay accountable and on track with my goals!

On Sunday, we went to Costco. We used to go to Costco 2x/month (every other week) but I am finding out that shopping at Costco more will actually save us more money because we’ll be shopping at Fred Meyer (more expensive) less. So, I think I’m going to experiment with shopping at Costco once a week and seeing how that goes. We bought the staples like eggs, produce (bannans, salad, spinach, avocados, carrots, etc) along with things like cheese, ground beef and tortillas.

I asked my friends on my Facebook page what there grocery budget looked like, and most said around $400-$800/month. (I asked ya’ll what your budget was last year — got lots of great ideas and insights there, too!) Not that I’m trying to compare myself with others or anything, but I want to know what is “average” for a family living in Alaska where I know some things are more expensive. I also didn’t want to set myself up for failure, if say, I hope to only spend $250/month on food — that probably won’t happen if we want to eat healthy foods.

I think we are going to shot for around $400 a month for food. However, that is under the Costco category where we also buy things like clothes, gifts for the kids, house supplies, toilet paper, so really if we spend $100 a week at Costco (which I actually think we will do much less than that. Previously we were going to Costco every other week and managing to spend just $100 ) for food and household items and other random things, I think that will make sense.

Okay, so anyways.

Sunday night, after looking over what meals I wanted to make that week, and looking in our fridge to see what we needed to get rid of, and looking at what new things I wanted to bake, I went to Fred Meyer. I bought some little things like yogurt, a few boxes of Annies Mac n’ Cheese since they were on sale, a package of sugar, a package of Flax Seed, string cheese and lunch meat (forgot to get it at Costco- bummer!)  and a couple other random things. In total, I spent about $30. The baking supplies alone were $10.

Now I have enough food to last us the whole week! Sweeeeeet!

Here is our week in meals:

I don’t plan for breakfasts or Lunch’s.  Or, at least right now I’m not. Breakfast is always the same or a combination of eggs, toast, oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, cereal. Lunch is always leftovers or a simple sandwich with fruit or veggies or whatever the kids want.


During nap time, I baked a batch of super healthy “cookies” (more like bars of some sort- too healthy for me to consider them cookies) and a big loaf of blueberry/zucchini bread. I put half in the freezer and the other half I put in ziploc bags or foil to use as snacks throughout the week for the kids and I, and for my husband in his packed lunch.  

I really liked doing this, because instead of buying a package of crackers or chips or whatever ($$) I made them which not only saves us money, but is much healthier.

{Recipes to come for these. They were yummy!}

Dinner for Monday: 

Bean & Cheese Quesadillas with veggies on the side.


Dinner :: Crock Pot: 2 chicken breast, 3 celery sticks (we had some left over in the fridge, so I needed to find a way to get rid of it) carrots and potatoes. Again, we had a bag of potatoes from the week prior and I needed to do something with it. I randomly (thank goodness) found a bag of “chicken crock pot” seasoning in my pantry, so I added that in with water and it tasted yummy!


Lunch is leftovers from Tuesday night’s dinner — plus some extra too!

Dinner:: Spaghetti : We already had pasta in our pantry and I have a can of pasta sauce in the fridge that we used with a spinach/cheese pasta last week, so we need to use it before it goes bad. Simple and easy. I’m not a big fan of spaghetti, so I will probably eat leftovers again from Tuesday. I’ll be at work anyways. Normally we wouldn’t have meat two nights in a row, but I’m not sure what else to do with the spaghetti sauce. (I don’t know how to cook.)


We will have lots of leftovers (spaghetti and chicken crock pot) so that will most likely be our dinner. I know the food can get “boring” to have 2 days in a row, but I refuse to make new food if we have leftovers in the fridge.

We will have a big salad as well. 

This night will be easy.


I’ll be at work again, so my husband and boys will scrounge up something simple. Probably mac n’ cheese for the babies and my husband will make himself a burger or make a frozen pizza that we have. I usually just snack at work during dinner time (we get so busy) or I’ll make myself a sandwich… or have dinner snacks when I get home.


Dinner :: Salmon, veggies & salad. 

I have a freezer full of salmon, we already have mixings and ingredients for salad, and we have canned green beans or frozen peas to choose from or I will probably steam up some carrots considering I just bought a huge bag at Costco! Easy and yummy! We will have salmon for dinner once a week. (HEAVEN)


I’m not sure about this night yet. I bet my husband will make something good! 🙂

So, that’s it! I’m excited to get better at this and have easier and stress free nights, all while saving money and eating healthier too.

Do you regularly meal plan? Budget food? What does it look like for you? What tips can you share?

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

7 thoughts on “First Week of Meal Planning

  1. We meal plan for a week at a time based on what we have in the fridge/freezer/garden and what's on sale. We've found it helpful to keep an excel document with foods divided into categories like fish, chicken, vegetarian etc so that we can pick from the list instead of trying to think on the spot. There are some fantastic blogs out there for slow cooker meals and healthy meals with lots of good ideas.

    I have some friends who do once a month freezer meals too so all they have to do is pull it out and it's ready to go.

  2. I need to start doing this again! I have tried several times but I run out of dinner ideas and feel like I make the same things over and over. I have a great Taco soup recipe and tacos is a staple dinner in our house. I'll email you the taco soup recipe…its also a weight watchers recipe so really healthy!

  3. We get meat from a locker every so often, so it's always on hand, and we know it's good. Then we buy staples biweekly or monthly at Aldi (super dirt cheap priced place, but good produce, boxed pasta, canned veg, etc), I scan the 'local' store ads for meat or other deals that are out of the ordinary/special stuff once a week and stock up on sale items. Most of the time, we do eat similar foods, nothing too fancy, but that works for us. Enchiladas, hamburgers, chicken on the grill, etc. it's all just plain old American homestyle food, but it stick to the ribs, is kid and leftover friendly, and we save a lot of money on my husbands/our lunches, too. I say the biggest tip is to stock your pantry and check it 1x/month to see what you're missing, fridge, too. (taco sauce, chicken broth, etc.), then you're never out of staples and you can pull meals together out of 'nothing' or so it seems.

  4. I meal plan. I make something new every night and freeze whatever is leftover. We don't like leftovers in a row, sometimes I'll put some in the fridge for my lunch the enext day, but that's it.

    It's super easy and I LOVE to cook and bake. We have banana bread for breakfast/lunch OFTEN!! I buy the bananas on clearance and then freeze them when they get really ripe so they're always ready.

    Another tip. freeze your extra celery. It's one thing I was always throwing away so I started cutting them up and freezing them.

  5. Oh yes I highly recommend 30 meals in one day software.
    It comes with cookbooks too which are great on their own.

    I took one day and made 14 recipes which lasted us about 3 weeks. I just went in the freezer, thawed it and heated it up on the stove or oven etc. So easy and I didn't have to cook.
    I'm planning on doing this again for when this baby comes.
    I'm also getting stuff frozen now in advance.

  6. I plan out our weekly meals as well, have been for a while. I find it is the best way to stay close to our budget each month with food. My budget goal for food each month is $400 but a lot of the time I spend closer to $500 depending on if there is a Costco trip in there or if I buy more meat, fruit, veggies one week than I do another. I have noticed I don't spend as much now that Desmond can eat the same food we can as long as we cut it up small enough, always spent more money when I had to buy separate or special stuff for him. I LOVE doing the weekly meals now, was hard at first but then it gets easier. I find it helpful to have an quick and easy fall back meal for those nights when you just don't feel like taking the time to cook or just don't feel like having the meal you planned. Wish healthy food wasn't so expensive!
    Jaimie 🙂

  7. I plan out every meal for the week on a spread sheet and make a corresponding shopping list with all needed ingredients. If I make something like soup/stew/tacos, I double batch it so I can freeze leftovers for lunches at a later day. That keeps us from getting too bored and on weeks where my budget is a little tight, we have meals already made so we don't have to spend any $$.

    I also spend some time on sundays precooking and prepping for meals. I chop veggies, cook and chop chicken for salads and pull out moose/fish that needs to be thawed.

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