Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekly Dinner Schedule

I like organization. I like schedules. For the professional mom, schedules are especially important, as they help provide a sense of routine and order to what could be a chaotic sort of lifestyle. It was this desire, along with my enthusiasm for saving money on groceries, that led me to create this handy dandy weekly dinner schedule. How does a dinner schedule save money on groceries? Why, because I've built in a few days that help slash the grocery bill. How does that work? Read on...

Here's the schedule:

Monday: Meatless Monday
Wednesday: Leftovers Day
Thursday: Salad Day
Friday: Fishy Friday
Sunday: Soupy Sunday

Meatless Monday: You might have guessed that on Meatless Monday, we don't eat meat. We do this for three reasons:
  1. Eating less meat is good for you. Unless you live in a cave, you know that a diet full of saturated fat leads to all kinds of health problems.
  2. Eating less meat is good for the environment. As certain population centers become more affluent, (take China, for example) they will increase the worldwide demand for meat. It simply isn't sustainable for all of us to eat meat at every meal.
  3. Eating less meat is less expensive.
What do we eat if we don't eat meat? We do a lot of pasta and pizza. If my husband didn't hate beans so much, we'd eat lots of beans. Perhaps you've heard that they're good for your heart. Shhh... don't tell him, but I've been thinking of sneaking some lentils in...

Leftover Day: In order to make Leftover Day work, you've got to make sure that you made enough food to have leftovers on Soupy Sunday, Meatless Monday, and/or Tuesday. Leftover Day will significantly slash your grocery bill, and as an added bonus, your fridge stays less cluttered.

Salad Day: Given my obvious fanaticism for alliteration, I'd like Salad Day to be on Saturday. Alas, the lettuce tends to get a little too wilty by then, so Thursday it is. Salad Day is a good opportunity to get in several of those vegetable servings that we Americans are so infamous for not getting enough of. It's also an easier/quicker/cheaper meal if you play your cards right. It's nice to get creative with salad day... keeps it fresh.

Fishy Friday: Not only does this day make me dizzy with alliteration delight, it also fits in with the tradition of fish on Fridays. You know you should eat more fish. Fishy Friday reminds you to do it.

Soupy Sunday: Every frugalista foodie knows that soup is a grocery budget's best friend. It fills you up, and often is chock-full of vegetables. If you make your own stock, it's even cheaper. Also, it's super easy to just make a giant pot that can go on to be lunches, fare for Leftover Day, or treasure for your freezer.

What about Tuesday and Saturday? What do I make on those days? Whatever I want. On at least one of those days, I make something to keep in the freezer. On the other day I might thaw something from the freezer.

Being the easy-going sort of lady that I am, this schedule isn't set in concrete. If I'm short on time one day, I might switch out a more time-consuming meal for a faster one that was dedicated to a different day. It saves a lot of time when I'm planning out the meals for the next week and writing the grocery list. And EVERY mom knows that's important.
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