I used to do a very detailed weekly meal plan, then grocery shop on Sunday getting everything I needed for the week. While I do enjoy this method, lately I have been taking a different approach and I think saving money in the process.
I still typically go grocery shopping on the weekend, but I usually also find myself near one of my favorite store during the week such as Land and Sea where I get amazing deals on my proteins, and Aldi where produce can be hit or miss, but I usually have pretty good luck and pay less than half the other grocery stores.
I will make a general list of my staples I need such as produce, cereal, coffee, creamer, Greek yogurt, canned beans, whole grains cheese, some sort of bread, etc… Then I check out the deals at Publix usually. I’ll buy things that are healthy and a good deal.
As long as I have a wide range of healthy whole foods, I am usually able to get creative when it comes time for dinner. I am constantly finding inspiration from The Food Network, The Cooking Channel, Pinterest, cookbooks and food magazines.
Most days I just stand in front of the fridge to see what I have to work with and something usually (not always) comes to me.
Here’s what I had to work with today;
Corn guacamole with tomato, onion and lime:
– 1 and 1/2 avocados
-1 and 1/2 tomatoes
-half a lime (juiced)
-red onion (I used about 1/4 finely diced)
-half a jalapeno finely diced
-1 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
I mixed all the ingredients together with salt and pepper and a simple delicious topping for my tilapia tacos was born.
For the tilapia, I dusted the filets with Creole seasoning and pan seared in a little extra virgin olive oil on medium heat for about 6 minutes per side, sliced and served on tortillas topped with queso fresco and hot sauce. So easy and delicious.
I think the key to this method of “no plan meal planning”, is to use fresh quality ingredients as simply as possible. To embrace a minimal style of cooking that relies on the ingredients to shine through makes for a naturally healthy meal that takes little time to prepare.
This is how I do 95% of my meals. There are also times I get a craving for something or want to try a new recipe that requires more planning and time, and I am more than happy to cook those as well. But with a busy schedule and late evenings of work, this way works well for me right now.