Meal Planning Lately!

Hello, all! Happy Thursday! Corey has off work today and he’s bringing me a donut treat after he runs some errands so I’m just chilling here at home with my coffee. 🙂 The mornings have been cooler in Florida because of all this blessed rain we’ve been getting, and I’m not complaining!

Some of you have kept up with my journey this past year or so and know that I’ve become much more aware of what Corey and I are eating and I love fresh healthy food. I also love my snacks and Starbucks so it’s been a struggle. 😉 If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself it’s that I have extreme all or nothing tendancies and I feel it must apply to every area of life because it keeps popping up everywhere. Cleary as I’m waiting on my donut from my hubby I’m not completely against splurges and honestly I’m a work in progress not associating food with guilt. I do strongly believe in food being fuel though and I believe good fuel doesn’t have to break the bank! My dream is to one day have a garden with all my favorite produce and I’m contemplating sneaking some potted plants onto our little apartment balcony but not sure how they would do in this direct Florida sun!

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After two Whole30s, lots of ups and downs and trying to find a balance with grocery shopping (it’s not enjoyable to me to go to four different stores a week), here’s where I’m at!

First, we currently shop mainly at Aldi and our local produce market. This has been a goal of mine as I used to only shop at Aldi when we were first married and hardly spent anything on groceries. Looking back, I realize part of why we ate for so cheap was because we weren’t eating healthy at all and I was trying to figure out what this cooking thing was all about, etc. When I say not eating healthy I don’t neccesarily mean junk food all the time but I bought a lot of processed things, we had a lot of carbs, sugar cereal and not enough fresh fruits and veggies. (My entire health journey as it relates to food is another story for another day but let’s just sum it up and say I felt horrible health-wise during that time.) Any other Aldi lovers out there?!

Second, this is our current new normal since I’ve recently started using the Dave Ramsey EveryDollar app. I have learned that I have an unhealthy relationship with food and money so the app has been helping me with the money side of things! I highly recommend it. It’s much easier than apps like Mint in my opinion and I really love it. I budget a certain amount for groceries per week and I go to Aldi every Monday. Occasionally there will be an item that Aldi does not carry that I need and I usually hit up our local grocery store to fill in those occasional gaps. I also go to our local produce market on my way home from Aldi for better-tasting produce like sweet potatos and some citrus items but I can’t beat Aldi prices on fruit and often they carry some locally-grown produce which I’m a huge fan of!

Here’s our weekly menu that is a continued work in progress!

Breakfasts: I keep every weekday breakfast for myself Whole30 approved and it gives me peace of mind that I am starting my day right and it gives me the sustained energy I need. This usually looks like eggs, sweet potatos, brussels sprouts, fruit and sometimes a Whole30 meat. Yum! Breakfast is my FAVORITE meal of the day so I don’t skimp on it! Corey usually eats cereal or a bagel with a banana. Sometimes I’ll make muffins for his breakfast but it just depends. I would like to improve on Corey’s breakfasts but it’s so much better than what I used to get him so that encourages me!

Here’s one of my favorite ways to fit veggies into my breakfasts lately! —> http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2015/11/23/roasted-sweet-potatoes-and-brussels-sprouts-recipe/

Lunches: I pack Corey’s lunch the night before and it’s usually a sandwhich, kettle chips and fruit or leftovers from dinner. I usually eat a salad with some sort of protein or fat for lunch or leftovers from dinner.

Dinners: Y’all, do dinners stress you out?! We FINALLY have a system down and I’m thrilled! 🙂 On Mondays we always get takeout Chipotle. It’s basically the highlight of my week. 😉 I budget for it and we can split a chicken bowl so it’s less than $11 for both of us to eat dinner and that INCLUDES chips and guac! Hallelujah for guac! Tuesdays I pull from my stash of tried and true recipes and Wednesdays are either date night out or I make breakfast and we do a movie or activity at home. On Thursdays we eat dinner with our church family at our pastor’s home. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are usually a hodgepodge of leftovers, salads, sandwhiches, smoothies and sometimes a lasagna or crockpot meal for Sunday lunch/dinner. The stash I keep for meal ideas is in a three-ring binder with healthier meal ideas that I can have on hand so I’m not stressed. I occasionally add new recipes when I actually try some of those recipes I have pinned on Pinterest. 😉

Some of my favorite meals for dinners are —>

1. http://www.thehealthymaven.com/2015/09/sweet-potato-turkey-chili.html (I have tweeaked this to make it how we like it but it’s awesome!)

2. http://www.themagicalslowcooker.com/seasoned-chicken-potatoes-and-green-beans/?hc_location=ufi

3. http://laughingspatula.com/sheet-pan-fajitas/

4. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pork-chops-roasted-apples-brussels-sprouts

Snacks: As far as snacks go, Corey NEEDS snacks because of his fast metabolism and the snack department is still a work in progress over here! There are a few things I like to have on hand for him (fruit and trail mix) but I’m still figuring out the veggie department for snacks!

Desserts: I rarely make dessert at home and when I do it’s usually cookies that Corey can take to work with him so I don’t eat them all day! Lol! However, we love occasional ice cream runs and try to get smoothies for cold treats too! Sometimes for date night we’ll order a sugary treat but we are usually too full, haha. I also sometimes make dessert for company which is nice because I get that occasional baking fix. 🙂

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We try to have friends over for a game night or dinner on the weekends and we recently started a budget fund for “food with friends” and I love it because it’s separate from our personal grocery budget and it helps me feel like I can serve others with food because we have a budget designated specifically for that! The fund is used for meals in our home when we have others over, snacks like chips and salsa (our go to for game nights!), baby/bridal showers, when we bring a side to a church function, when we have company from out of town, or want to bring a meal to someone.

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In general I try to buy at least 50% or more of fresh produce when I do a grocery run. Things like cantaloupe and watermelon last a long time when there are just two people eating it so those have been two of my go-to’s lately! I have also been roasting a ton of veggies lately (especially broccoli and asparagus) because they’re nutritious and an easy side that both of us like! It took me awhile but I recently added a jelly roll sheet pan to my kitchen stash and it has SAVED my life. It’s so easy to roast my veggies and I use THESE to clean it easily and gently so I’m hoping it will last me a long time!

1. http://amandafarnsworth.norwex.biz/en_US/customer/shop/product-detail/108471

2. https://www.amazon.com/Palmolive-Ultra-Liquid-Power-Degreaser/dp/B01MR8ZWME/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1498142418&sr=8-3&keywords=palmolive+oxy+power+degreaser

I always try to have spaghetti and salad stuff on hand for when I just don’t feel like cooking or if we want to have people over last minute and I need something fast!

As far as food sensitivities, etc. I do still always feel better when I’m eating the Whole30 way! I still try to stay away from bread and processed sugar when I’m home but when we travel I allow myself more freedom and I’m sure to bring my Plexus BioCleanse and Peppermint essential oil with me because they’ve been the best thing ever for my tummy. I’m sure this meal plan will change again but I’m hoping this will help those who are in between like I am right now. I would love to hear your meal planning tips and what you’ve found works for you! I don’t pretend to have it all figured out but I will say that having a PLAN has been so helpful! And it’s fun knowing Mondays are Chipotle night and Wednesdays are breakfast nights and I view it as little traditions that build memories! Happy meal planning! 🙂

XOXO,

Amanda Mariah ❤

P.S. All pictures are from Pinterest and are not my own. 🙂

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