Saturday, March 30, 2013

Planning & Shopping

I realized in the last week that I am absolutely lost if I don't meal plan.  If there is not a set "agenda" of what I am supposed to eat and when, I will reach for whatever is the easiest, fastest, most convenient thing there is.

Interestingly enough, this tends to also be the most unhealthy thing there is.

It's so weird that I've gained nearly 20 pounds since the marathon.

(Yeah, I just threw that one on you, huh?  It might not look like I've gained almost 20 pounds, but I have.  Trust me.  Ugh.  More on that story in a different post.)

So back to meal planning.  It is a huge pain in the butt and took me three hours last week and two hours this week.  BUT, it is oh-so important, which is why I want to dedicate a post to explaining just how I do it.

First, I figure out the meals for each week.  To do this, I first look at what my targets are.  As mentioned in a previous post, I am supposed to eat 33 grams of carbohydrates for each meal (with the exception of the sixth meal, the one right before bed) and between 14-18 grams of protein for each meal.  I am also interested in the amount of fat, so I look at that, too.

Then, I look at what I ate the week before to get ideas, I search my Pinterest page for inspiration, and I ask The Boy if he is craving anything in particular.  From my goals and my meal ideas, I can put together a pretty solid plan.

Because I'm a crazy woman, I do this in a pretty table on a Word document so that I can reference it (without losing it) all week:

Morning Meals
Afternoon Meals

After I have all of that figured out, I create a grocery list:

Prior to making the list, I first check the fridge and cupboards to see if I already have some of the items I'll need.  After all, it'd be silly to duplicate.

Notice the four columns on my list.  This makes grocery shopping easy.  The first column is all of the produce I need.  The second column consists of items from the refrigerated section (i.e. meat and cheese and dairy).  The third column is everything that can be found in the aisles of the store (i.e. the dry goods, the pantry items).  Finally, the fourth column is freezer food.

Here's the loot for today:

 The dry goods that I bought were wheat thins, edamame crackers and wasabi peas from Trader Joe's (impulse purchases), sesame rye crackers, sliced almonds, cumin, brown sugar, sunflower butter, and chocolate milk protein powder.

This was a unique bundling: everything I need to make Easter cupcakes to bring to BFF's house for dinner tomorrow: white cake mix, white frosting, cupcake liners, Peeps, jelly beans, and coconut.

The random fridge and freezer items are as follows: three bags of frozen brown rice, one bag of frozen broccoli, one can of orange juice concentrate (for smoothies), eggs, Trader Joe's bruschetta topping, a huge thing of plain Greek yogurt (to use as a substitute for mayo and sour cream in recipes this week as well as an ingredient in smoothies), and Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze.

Here's what hurt me the most: the produce.  This week, I stocked up because I actually had to go to the store yesterday since I ran out of stuff this week.  Here's what I bought: Brussels sprouts, cilantro, cucumber, bananas, broccoli, apples, green peppers, a jalapeno, limes, a mango, parsley, tomatoes, grapes, a red onion, a yellow onion, sweet potatoes, and avocados.

The protein for the week is as follows: tilapia, flank steak, fresh mozzarella, blue cheese, and crab.  Also pictured are some protein items I got from Trader Joe's so that I don't have to make another trip out west anytime soon: teriyaki tofu, tempeh, and marinated white fish.

So, most of what I bought this week is to be used this week.  The three proteins from Trader Joe's are to be used in the future, and the protein will certainly last me longer than one week, as will some of the impulse purchases (the edamame crackers and the wasabi peas).

However, most will be consumed before the next time I go to the store, which is unfortunate since it was quite an expensive day:

I spent $52 at Trader Joe's and $97 at Hy-Vee.  I think there are a couple of reasons it was so darn expensive this week: first, I bought a lot of protein (steak, crab, tilapia, marinated fish), which isn't cheap; second, the protein was $13 itself; third, I didn't want to run out of produce like I did last week; fourth, I wanted to stock up on veggies since those are basically "free" to eat, at least calorically speaking.

While it was more expensive ($149 total) than I would've liked it to have been, I'm still in the trial-and-error part of this whole process.  And, since we will not be eating out at all (with the exception of my "free-day" meal this evening), this is the total amount of money The Boy and I will be spending on food this week.

(Although, I'm sure The Boy will find a reason for him to run to Abelardo's or Taco John's or the convenience store for some Flamin' Hot Cheetos.  And then he'll lose 25 more pounds.)

If you have any questions regarding meal planning or grocery shopping, please let me know.  Other than spending too much darn money, I think I have this whole thing pretty well figured out.

Again, please like my page on Facebook, follow my fitness and food boards on Pinterest, and be my friend on My Fitness Pal (by searching for emmy815 with the email address of

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