Until recently, I was living at my parent’s home & commuting everyday into the city. As trying as this time was (as any post-graduate living with their parents can attest to) it was also a good time to save money, something you don’t appreciate until you are paying an arm & a leg for a NYC apartment.
My only problem was having more money meant that I had more to spend on my weekly groceries. Compounding this problem was that at the end of the week, I often found myself wasting food.
Although my new found budget constraints makes smart shopping a necessity rather than just a ‘nice to do’, weekly food planning is something that can help anyone who is looking to waste less, on a budget or not.
To make it easy, dedicate 20 – 30 minutes a week before you do your shopping to do the following:
- Take inventory: What’s in your fridge, freezer & pantry. Check dates & see if there is anything you should use up soon.
- Glance at your calendar: Even though life can throw you a curve ball sometimes, loosely try to plan out your week. Are you planning on working late Tuesday night? Hopefully it’s more like drinks Wednesday with your girlfriends. Whatever it is, make sure to have a few backup plans ready.
- Pick & Choose: Don’t carve your weekly menu out in stone. If your plan falls through it will only discourage you. Instead, make a 4 column list – breakfast, lunch, dinner & snack. Keeping in mind your inventory & schedule, start filling in each of the columns seeing where you can reuse leftovers or get double use out of purchases. From here, decide what is absolutely needed from the store. Use this list as you go through the week, picking & choosing depending on what works for you as each day unfolds.
By doing this you should see a dip in your weekly food budget as well as the amount of food you waste each week. To give an example, here is my list for the week…
Recently, a friend gave me some helpful feedback on my blog & the possible directions I could take it in. As another 20-something-year-old living the city life and trying to balance work and friends, she admitted that weeknight dinners often are neglected. More specifically, healthy & quick weeknight dinners for only one person seemed impossible to produce.
Thinking about it for a minute, I realized she was right. Almost all of the recipes out there, even most of those on my site, are intended for at least 2 people. That’s not to say that one can’t make these recipes and simply save the leftovers for lunch or another dinner, but with hectic work schedules & late nights, many of us don’t feel like coming home and making an elaborate meal.
I knew that this was something I could help fix and at the very least prove – anyone can make healthy & quick weeknight meals! And although it may not be as glamorous as a roasted chicken or braised short ribs, healthy weeknight meals for one force you to be creative which makes cooking fun.
So, I plan on bringing you my daily weeknight dinners along with any tips and tricks I think you’ll find helpful when it comes to cooking for one. And of course none of this would be realistic if it wasn’t done on a budget. I don’t have a specific number in mind but will keep everyone in the loop on what I buy each week at the grocery store . Typically, I spend between $20-$30 a week but the foodie in me sometimes splurges here and there!
Now a couple of disclaimers:
- I am not a registered dietitian nor do I have any type of degree in nutrition. I am, however, very interested in the nutritional benefits food provides & I strive to eat a balanced diet without deprivation.
- As I do have a special person in my life, my meals are not always for one and sometimes I do make a double recipe either to use later in the week or freeze for another time. Unless noted, though these meals are for one.
- There will still be plenty of not-so healthy and not so quick recipes posted here on Blissful Bites. Because, honestly, life is just too short not to eat blue cheese burgers & crumb cake.
I hope some of you reading this will find this helpful (there are people reading this out there, aren’t there!?) and as always, if there is anything you would like to see featured or if you have any questions please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.