Recently my husband and I have jumped on to the Paleo bandwagon. Paleo is a lifestyle change that has to do with your diet. Basically you cannot eat processed foods, sugar, dairy, grains, or legumes, for various reasons (please, research it if you do not know). We feel that this diet is good for our to try at the moment. We joined a 6 week challenge to do this diet along with some exercise. 

Now, not having grains or sugar has not been the hardest part of the diet for us, no. The hardest part for us to is to PAY for this diet. Fillers like bread, rice, etc are no longer on the yes list for us, and they were cheap! Much cheaper than eating so much fruits, veggies and meat.

When we first started this Paleo Journey we kind of just bought things all willy-nilly like, Almond flour ($8.50/lb at our commissary!), Coconut Flour (Over $5/lb), fruits, veggies, meats, we even shopped on and off post. That day, we spent over $200 just trying to get our house "Paleo Friendly", just trying to get some staple items.

Our hopeful solution to this is doing meal planning. I am no pro on this, but I feel that my system may be unique (or not) and you'll gain some sort of knowledge on how to meal plan if you haven't before. We are on our third week of meal planning and it seems to be going really well for us. However, we haven't had the chance (yet) to see how well this affects (or doesn't) our wallets but we are hoping to see it soon.

So you want to meal plan? Here's how I do it. It probably could use some adjusting, but it works pretty well for us at the moment.

The first step for me was to get organized. I purchased a sticky "white board" sheet that now sticks to my fridge. But, if you do not have one of these you could use a paper calendar, or even a regular lined piece of paper. But have it out to where the whole family can see so that they do not use the ingredients for something else throughout the week!

Take inventory. Figure out what you have already (this is just something I've implemented after 3 weeks of meal planning because I have been buying things that I didn't really need because I already had it! I kept forgetting what I had in my fridge.). So go through your cupboards and write down all the things you have already along with the quantities.

Pick some themes. This was my husband's idea and it's really a good one! He thought this would make it way easier for me to find ideas for recipes, and he was right. So, what do you normally do for the week? Do you normally do Taco Tuesdays? Do you have spaghetti nights? Keep those the same, it will really help.

You could pick themes like I did, Italian, Mexican, Asian, etc. Or you could just pick different meats, Poultry, Beef, Pork, Fish, etc

Get your recipes out. Do whatever it is that you do, go on Pinterest, pull out the recipe book, whatever. Go research "Italian Recipes" etc etc. But don't forget about your inventory list! Try to use things that you have on there, so that you're not purchasing things that you don't necessarily need, so you're not spending additional money. Write down what recipes you'll be using. As you will find out, I write this down in many places.

Use your resources. Yes, like I said, I have a sticky calendar on my fridge that is large and everyone in the house can see. But I also use the calendar on my laptop, I input the recipe, along with the URL, so that I can easily find it.

As you can see, on the 10th of October I plan to have Onion Apple Pork Chops. I really like having this on my calendar on my lap top because an alert will pop up on my lap top, and I will also get an alert on my phone, that day saying what we're having for dinner. So I wont forget, and the recipe is RIGHT there! No digging! I really recommend using as many, or as little methods that work for you. I like going all out. Seeing it wherever I am. It keeps me motivated, and reminds me to do it and keep up with it.

Go online, and google "Free meal planning calendars". Here is one that I found with 20 Free Meal Planner Printables.

Here is one that I've made and used in the past. Please feel free to use this, print it out, share it, whatever. It really helps!

Grocery List. The last step is to make a grocery list. Pick a day to go grocery shopping (I like shopping on Saturdays because I usually make my husband go with me and we have a good time together, usually) Only write down things that you actually need. We need to go in that darn store with a plan, we're on a mission. Get in and get out of there. We all hate spending money on groceries, and I hope that this helps us, and you spend LESS money over all.

Don't forget that you need breakfast and lunch things too! (I don't plan out breakfasts and lunches though, because husband takes left overs, and I make something easy like eggs for breakfast and a chicken salad for lunch. Lettuce, chicken, and eggs are all something that are "staple items" for us, meaning we always have them available.) Be sure to write down the staple items that you just need to buy every week. Milk, bread, or whatever it is that you guys eat on a regular basis.

Now, get to that grocery store, find great prices, and get good food! Only get what you need, and what your family will eat! 
Let me know if you have tried meal planning! have you tried my method? What method works for you? Do you have any suggestions?

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