Hi My Name is Kim

And I’m a planner.  And I love my planner.  My non-digital, hand decorated, scribbled on planner.  I would say it literally saves my life.  It does this in multiples ways, but for tonight I’m referencing the fact that it helps me plan healthy well balanced meals, save money, and prevent food waste.


The planning goes a little something like this:

1.  Break open the planner to see if dinners need to be based on other commitments.  For example, dinner with friends, working late, or traveling.

2.  Plan the meals for the busy nights first.  I have old standbys to go to on these nights.  Mostly breakfast foods…eggs, waffles, and oatmeal.  Each meal gets a sticky note.

3.  Then plan meals that use up ingredients that would be leftover from the first few meals.  I put spinach in my omelet so I better make sure to have a salad later in the week to use the rest.  Or break a big bunch of fresh asparagus in half to go with two different meals.

4.  Plan more complicated meals and new recipes for the other nights.  Put them on sticky notes too.  I always plan for at least a week, but sometimes even two weeks.  I try to look at when I’ll be able to get to the store the next time and plan until then.


5.  Make the grocery list.  Now that my meals are all laid out I can go back and jot down what I need for each night.  It’s easy to put my ingredients in the order I walk through the store.  I keep recipes that I’ve picked on hand to review the ingredients; the book and page number goes on the sticky note.

6.  I also keep a “check if I need it” list.  I don’t want to purchase duplicates and have to store extra food.  I keep a list to take downstairs to the pantry to verify if it needs to go on my grocery list.


7.  Then comes my favorite part, the coups!  Every Sunday I clip coupons that I know are the products we usually eat.  They all get categorized in my handy dandy coupon organizer (another life saver) until I need them for grocery list making.  I pull out the ones that apply to the meals I’m making.  I also pull out the ones for the staples we need, cat food, cereal, yogurt, etc.  Entire foods or brand names get added to the list.  A (C) next to the food tells me I need to pull out the coupon at the store to make sure I buy the right thing.

8.  Then it’s back to the meals!  I evaluate how long fresh ingredients will last.  We eat lots of fresh produce and I don’t want it to go to waste!  Did I plan to have bananas or spinach two weeks from now?  Maybe I better switch those to apples and frozen broccoli.  Or since the meals are on sticky notes, just switch the perishable foods to the beginning of the cycle.


9.  Stick the notes in the planner and enjoy.  I reference them at work sometimes when I’m dreaming about heading home at the end of the day.  I can go through my menu and know if I need to start cooking right when I get home or if I can head outside to garden.


10.  If something comes up during the week and I don’t make a meal as planned, the sticky note moves on to another day.  If I’m not motivated or in the mood to make the planned meal, the sticky notes get swapped.  This way I’m still sure all the purchased food is used.


WOW!  I had no idea I put this much thought into meal planning and grocery list making.  It just comes naturally for me to be organized, especially with food.  I never really stopped to think about it.  Even though this is likely one of my more boring posts (except for you organized folks out there like me…don’t try to hide, I know you’re out there), but I hope its helpful!

My method is a work and progress and there may be something that works better for you and your family.  I hope someday to be able to make sticky notes for meals that never change that can be re-used.  They would be paired with the recipes grouped together in my master recipe binder.  I of course would have new ones to add, but I’d also have a whole arsenal of meals to go to instead of saying, “Steve, what’s something new we can make for dinner?”

I know…dream on!  And I plan to.

Please share your meal planning and grocery shopping tips!  I would love to hear them!


2 Comments to “Hi My Name is Kim”

  1. meal planning is my savior! i don’t understand how people don’t do it. i use a google calendar that brent and i both have access to. that way, if either of us thinks of anything during the week, we can always add it to a future date. another benefit of the google calendar is that i can look back on past weeks easily if i’m at a loss for ideas.i can also write what cookbook/magazine things are in so i have a record of things we tried.

    then on saturday or sunday, i pick meals using some of your same techniques (shopping the pantry, making sure i’m buying perishables that can be used more than once, etc). then i make a list, sort it by section of the grocery store and go shopping! i literally do not buy anything that is not on my list. very occasionally if a cereal or other dry good that we eat a lot is on sale or BOGO, i will buy it. for the most part, though, i do not stray from my list. this allows me to do my full grocery shop SUUUPER fast. i’m usually back within half an hour. i don’t enjoy the actual grocery shopping part, so the work on the front end helps me get it over with sooner!

    hope you enjoyed ramblings from your fellow OCD friend. 🙂

    • You are the electronic version of me! Love the google calendar idea. Steve keeps trying to get me to use it, but I’m still just too attached to my cutesy planners. Although it would be nice to look back on.

      I love your ramblings. And I wish we could cook dinner for each other!

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