It's budget day today~ and I'm also setting up our meal plan for June, because tomorrow is my "big" shopping day for the new month. There's a constant tug-of-war going on in any budget; balancing the fixed and variable expenses can be a source of frustration for many, including myself.
One of the places you can really adjust your monthly spending is in your grocery budget. Over the winter I was able to stretch our food budget a little further by planning a huge pot of soup once a week. The leftovers became a secondary meal, usually rounded out with a vege tray and sandwiches. Whatever didn't get eaten became individually-frozen lunches.
I love soup, because you take a little of this, a little of that, throw in some flavourful herbs and spices, and end up with something delicious. It's a great way to use of tiny amounts of leftovers and create a full meal.
The problem I find in June- August is that planning soups isn't really logical. It's the warmest time of the year for us, and hot soup doesn't feel right.
I do expect some rainy and gloomy days, so I've penciled in 2 soup dinners for June. Take today, for example. It's so cool, rainy, and gloomy that you can see your breathe outside. We're making a big pot of Minestrone for dinner.
I've also decided on quick meals, like wraps and stir-fry's. And of course, lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables. I've cut out roast beef, something we enjoyed once a month in the winter, and replaced it with grilled fish. I think our grocery spending will be right around where it's been all winter, despite rising food costs. Of course, the kids would be happy with hotdogs or macaroni-and-cheese from a box, but the nutritional component would be lost and I don't want to do that too often after working so hard on cleaning up our eating.
How do you approach your meal planning and budgeting? Do you repeat favorites each month, try new foods, a bit of both?
If you have any questions about some of the recipes I'm thinking of trying, or wondering how to start eating better, drop me a note! I'm happy to help.