Join Riley and Roni for an episode on why we think meal planning needs to be on your 2023 to-do list! From healthier eating to saving money to spending more time with your family, meal planning can help you in multiple areas of your life!
Find the recipes from this episode:
Sausage and Cherry Tomato Skillet
Riley's Breakfast Casserole
I'm Riley and I'm Roni. And this is the plan to eat podcast, where we have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner.
Roni: Hello, welcome to the Plan to Eat podcast and welcome to 2023. It has finally, it has finally come around. I don't know if it's finally, actually, you know, it kind of snuck up, but we're here. We're here. We're doing it.
Riley: So excited for the new year. This is me clapping. I feel like I shouldn't have just clapped once. Yes. Let's be excited about the new year. There's a lot to be excited about. It's fresh, it's new, and it's a clean slate.
Roni: and if you're like me, the holidays are over, which I am always kind of happy about
Riley: They're really fun when they start, and I think that you just, I think it's easy for me to get tired very quickly. It's not that I'm tired of my family or my [00:01:00] friends or whatever, it's just, it's just can be by the end of it. You're like, Need a week off
Roni: I am not a holiday music afficionado . And so, you know, hearing it starting the day after Thanksgiving, most of the time I'm very happy to be listening to regular music. I'll, I'll listen to the regular, um, elevator music now. Thank you.
Riley: I don't dislike it, but it does not play constantly in my home. I, I'm happy to hear it. The little bits I hear it. And besides that, I'm good. So, anyway, now that we've offended people about their love of Christmas music because , I know it's a hot topic. Maybe we should
start this podcast over I don't dislike it.
It's just I don't, I just don't overplay it. now my Christmas tree, that is something I wish I could leave up all year. I, I love the way it makes my house look,
Roni: well, yeah, and you guys get a, and you get a fresh Christmas [00:02:00] tree, so probably smells really nice.
Riley: yeah. I told my husband that I said, we should just leave it up the whole year. Cause we kinda had to rearrange this past year for the tree. And he was like, but then it will not be special. I'm like, yeah, you're right.
Roni: that's way too logical.
Riley: So I know. Come on, . None of that is why we're here today. We are here to talk about meal planning.
Oh, surprise, surprise. We're talking about meal planning, . Um, but we wanna talk about some of the benefits of meal planning. and if you are one of the people who is trying to meal plan as a New Year's resolution, we wanna hear be here to support you and give you some really great tips on what it can help you with if your goal is not meal planning.
Roni: maybe we'll finish up this episode by giving some easy beginner meal planning tips that don't necessarily have to be for beginners. Everybody can take, take some things away and implement them into their lives. So yeah, we wanna start off, talking a little bit about healthier eating and how meal planning can help you eat a little healthier in your life.
Um, this is a benefit that we [00:03:00] don't talk about quite as much, but it really is an important one and particularly important in the new year. If. Changing your style of eating happens to be high on your priority list. Meal planning is a great way to ensure that you actually follow through with the change that you're wanting to make to your diet.
Whether it's adding extra things into your diet, taking things out of your diet, trying a whole new style of eating, meal planning is really the thing that's gonna help you stick with that. , it allows you to plan ahead for the meals that you're gonna be eating and get that plan in place so that you're not stressed out, worrying about what you can or cannot eat.
Worrying if you have the ingredients at your house or not. Or, you know, getting hangry and then eating maybe something that you were trying to avoid just because you were needing some fuel in your body and, you know, you didn't have a plan for dinner or a snack or lunch.
Riley: absolutely. A lot of people come to Plan to Eat for this reason. Uh, Plan to eat [00:04:00] is a blank slate, so you can add in recipes. Of whatever kind. We are here to support you on your journey in whatever that means for you and for your body. And so a lot of people come to us, especially at this time of year because they're making some kind of change.
Um, Plan to Eats recipe book is empty, and while that sounds scary, it's really not , um, because you get to then have the control over whatever you add to your account. So for the sake of this conversation last year, Took a month and did the paleo diet with her husband, and they did it for one month. And so she was able to go in and add tons of paleo recipes, snag 'em from her friend's accounts if something looked good here and there.
Um, did you use tags? What did you use to kind of help organize those since you had an existing account?
Roni: Yeah, I did use tags for that. I think that for me that was the easiest way, to organize them. because I think I was mostly focused on just dinner recipes for the paleo recipes. The, the [00:05:00] breakfast, kind of took care of itself, um, which is, you know, like some, like bacon and eggs or whatever. And then lunch is, was usually just leftovers from the night before, so that was easy to take care of.
So yeah, I just tagged my recipes in Plan to Eat with paleo, , I don't know, things like gluten free and like that kinda stuff. I think I even ate a few AIP p recipes during that month as well. Um, uh, that stands for Autoimmune Protocol if anybody doesn't know. And, um, cuz those kinda like fit into that paleo category as well.
So yeah, I just utilized my tags and I would just filter my recipe book, buy the tags. I think actually what I did was I created a menu in, then I just replanted it for four weeks.
Riley: Well, that's fine. That's a great tip for people who are trying to do something. Us because particularly if you found a lot of recipes you liked and you just wanted 'em on repeat because you were doing it for a month, that's really helpful.
Roni: Yeah. Well, and then it kind of made the, the shopping and everything a little, even like that, much more automated. Right. Because it was like every week I was just going in pretty much buying the exact same things, [00:06:00] so
Riley: And for somebody who's brand new to plan to eat, you get to add whatever you want to your account. So you don't even have to use tags. If everything you eat is vegetarian, then you just add vegetarian recipes and you don't have to worry about, um, you know, grabbing a recipe that has something in it that you aren't trying to eat right now or forever, depending on what your goals are.
Roni: Yeah. I think one of the things that I think about also with, with eating healthier foods is. . Just the fact that you get to choose what ingredients you're actually using. So, you know, like when you go out to a restaurant or you're getting takeout, um, you're. Like, while you get to choose what you're eating, you're not necessarily in charge of what those ingredients are that you're actually eating.
And so if that's something that's really important to you, I think that, creating a meal plan and cooking more meals at home is like, that's an easy solution for, you know, just. Automatically eating a little bit healthier because you're choosing the ingredients. You get to choose how fresh they are.
You [00:07:00] get to choose, you know, if they have certain types of, of preservatives or whatever in them. So I think it just enables you to, once again, you have the control and you have the power to then be able to make the choices that you wanna make for you and your family.
Riley: Yeah, that's, that's great feedback. One thing that we, you know, I, I feel like even hesitant bringing this up because weight and weight loss, while that's a really big resolution, it's not something that we talk too much about. It's not our. Uh, pr it's not our, um, what's the word?
Riley: It's not our expertise. Um, we, again, are here to support people in whatever avenue would they need with food. But we did a survey of our customers, uh, several years ago, and people who started meal planning to try to meet their goals lost an average of 19 pounds. Which is, I just feel like I can't not mention it, even though I feel, so he hesitant me mentioning it.
But that is impressive. . I feel like it's something that as a meal planning company, we can be really proud of in [00:08:00] helping people with their goals. Like if that was something they needed to do. I'm so proud of them that we were able to, you know, like that they were able to keep up with it, but that, you know, that we were able to be here for them in that way.
Roni: right. Well, yeah, and I think it ties, I mean, it ties back into just the idea of being able to plan ahead and not, you know, , you know, absentmindedly snacking or getting hangry and eating the thing you weren't trying to eat. Like that plays into, if your goal is a weight loss goal, meal planning is so helpful in that regard because you're not just making these decisions on the fly when you know you really wanna eat the cheeseburger and in, you know, instead you should be eating maybe something different.
I don't know if should's the right word there, but . . but you know, like, like that idea of like, a lot of times it's easier to make the choices that we want to make if we do them ahead of time, whereas in the moment, a lot of times we think, I'm just hungry. I'm just gonna grab this food, I'm gonna eat it.
And then after the fact you're like, that wasn't in line with what I was trying to [00:09:00] do. And so it kind of helps with that, like disappointment in yourself that you can feel sometimes when you're trying to stick to a certain plan and, you know, you slip up. Slipups are always gonna happen, but you know, they can happen a lot less frequently when you're planning ahead and kind of like securing this, um, plan for yourself.
Riley: Yeah. And I would even like just remove the word slip up and say like, it could be a choice sometimes,
Roni: Sure. Of course.
Riley: Um, it's your birthday or it's your spouse's birthday and, and you're like, we're gonna go to this restaurant, or I'm gonna make this meal, to celebrate this person and I'm choosing that. Um, but when you're planning 90% of everything else, you're so much more likely to stay on board and on track.
The thing that I, you know, I, I love what you're talking about with snacks and just having meals planned ahead and knowing what it's there for you, cuz you purchased. Um, I think even the tools that have come about since we did this survey, things like grocery pickup, grocery delivery, can actually even help in addition to plan to eat, because you're not going into the [00:10:00] store, you're not being tempted to buy things.
You, you know, you're not having to, you know, you can go in and you can shop for things you know you need and read labels on the app or whatever. We're not having to go in and spend all this extra time. Or even being tempted, it, maybe temptation is a big problem and walking past the cookie row or, you know, whatever it is that you're, is your temptation.
Maybe it's the chip aisle or whatever. If, if there's something you're trying to avoid in particular, you don't have to go into the store, you know, you can just do your grocery pickup with the plan and the list that you created inside of Plantee. And then you've got your snacks, you've got your breakfast lunches and dinners, and it helps you stay on your, on your goal.
And I feel like. You're just enabling yourself to do it , you know, winging it. I just feel like it's such a hard one in this category in particular.
Roni: right. Well, winging it usually, I mean, kinda like I said, like winging it leads to potentially being disappointed in yourself and if your goal is something that you're really passionate about, then like, . You wanna, you wanna reach it, you wanna get there. And so, [00:11:00] you know, the more times that you have wins in your day, you know, day after day, like the faster you're gonna get there.
Riley: Absolutely. Another, another thing within this category, um, is food allergies. Um, a ton of our customers come to us because they've been diagnosed with a food allergy. Maybe they have a child or a spouse or a parent, someone in their world who they are feeding, has been diagnosed with. , some kind of thing they need to cut out of their diet.
And that is hard. It's hard, especially if it's not you, you know, I'm just thinking about if it was someone I was feeding. It's really hard. I, I'm thinking, even thinking about friends with young children who have to cut food out. You have to be in such watch over what they have and what they eat. Um, and so eating at home and making. Foods at home and making those choices for them is just, it's a little easier, right? It's easier at home. And planning for that and finding recipes and storing them somewhere so that you can meet those needs. I think plant eat is just, and, and I [00:12:00] feel like I, you know, I'm biased. I, you know, because I love plant eat, but it's certainly an amazing tool for that kind of situation, and I think it certainly falls into the quote unquote healthier eating category because, that is health related for those people, they need to make that change.
It's gonna help them thrive. So, uh, using a tool like Plan to eat can, can really be helpful and be a huge stress reliever for the caregiver. or if it's for yourself, if you need that for yourself too.
Roni: Right. That's what I was gonna say when you were talking, it made me think it's so overwhelming if, you or somebody in your family gets a diagnosis with, you know, taking out, you know, something like dairy or gluten or, you know, even nuts Literally anything that you're used to eating, it can be so overwhelming to think like we're not gonna be able to eat any food anymore at all.
And so to be able to have, to be able to have tools that support that cha, that lifestyle change are so important because it just drastically reduces that overwhelm. [00:13:00] And not saying that it reduces it completely, because there's still times when, you know, like cravings will happen, or maybe moodiness happens because, you know, like, like if you're thinking about like a kid and they're used to eating certain things and
it's an adjustment to that change, and sometimes that adjustment period can be really challenging. So the more tools that you can have to support you and make it less overwhelming, the better off you're gonna be overall and the easier it's going to be to either help yourself or help the person in your life, like stick to that, a lifestyle change that's the healthiest for.
Riley: Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, we could probably go on and on about this. Um, I'm even thinking about some other topics that kinda would fit into this, like Freezer meals and just stuff like that that kind of helps you stick to your goals within that, uh, healthier eating category. But I think it's probably. Good if we move on, because I know we've talked about that one for quite a while and we have several to talk about.
So, I think the next one is probably productivity that I wanna highlight and talk about.[00:14:00] Plan To Eat is one of those tools that allows you to take wasted time and use it to your advantage. So I'm thinking, sitting in the doctor's office, you open up the Planti Eat app. You know, who knows?
Your wait time can be 20 minutes. It could be 10 , it could be an hour, whatever, whatever it is that you're doing to wait, wait for something. . That lovely time that we all have waiting. Oil changes. School pickup. Um, I'm sure there's others that we can all think of, but. , it's a really great time to pull out your Plan to eat app, a meal plan.
And you know, plant eat has really taken away the sit of the kitchen table, compiling your recipes, opening up a million recipe books, making a handwritten shopping list, that traditional meal planning process, and it makes it take 10 to 20 minutes and you're done. So you get a ton of time back, but I think that it's arguable that you can now then take wasted time and redeem it by meal planning, um, and then get it done, uh, in these wasted moments [00:15:00] of your day.
And then you don't have to sit down and do the hard work of compiling all the recipes and things like that.
Roni: Right. Well, and you even mentioned in a previous podcast about, you know, getting recipe inspiration and then just immediately planning recipes on your planner. And so if you think about that, like, it can even be that you're not, you don't even need the full, you know, 10 minutes in the school pickup line to do your meal plan.
Because, you know, last night when you went out to eat at a restaurant, you saw this like really delicious cob salad, you know, that you added to your meal plan just in the moment because it was 30 seconds that it took for you to add that recipe to your meal plan. So I think that it doesn't even just have to be the, the bulk time of meal planning.
It can be these individual like, , oh, I saw this really like this really yummy recipe. I wanna add it to my meal plan. Or, out and about and just something, you know, sounds really good and you're craving it so you add it to your meal plan. I think there's lots of times like that too, that, you know, it can just be here and there and before you know it, you have two weeks planned out, you know,[00:16:00]
Riley: Yeah. And I certainly still do that. My, my husband and daughter are notorious for saying like, I wanna eat. Well, that's not what's planned today, but I can add it . Um, so in addition to, you know, finding recipe on Facebook or Instagram, it's, it's when the people that I'm feeding in my life say they wanna eat something, I can just go plan it really quick.
And doing that, you know, 10 times in two weeks creates a really solid three week meal plan,
Riley: Cuz I tend to plan three to four meals a week, and then either we eat leftovers or we do other things. But, um, yeah, that's a, that's a great point.
Roni: Well, and this makes me think a little bit about like the reason that Plan to Eat was created. you know, it was created by our founder Clint, his wife Lisa was the planner in the family. She was doing that pen and paper style of meal planning. That was taking a really long time. I don't think that they realized this, like on the go benefit.
That was gonna happen by creating the program. Like, you know, initially [00:17:00] creating the program was more about simplifying this process and making it digital. Um, so that didn't have to be, you know, scattered cookbooks and that kind of stuff. But then with the addition of the app, , it's like kind of like leveled it up even more to this element of like, it can be on the go, it can be wherever you are.
You could be sitting in your car outside of the grocery store and being like, yeah, I don't have a meal plan, but it's okay cuz I can make one in five minutes. And then I have my shopping list to walk into the grocery store with. Like, it's a really cool like elevation of the meal planning process to just be able to do it wherever you.
Riley: Mm-hmm. . I just love the idea that it, I. , it makes sense that it so deeply connects to the story. But the story is really based in productivity. Cuz she didn't want, his wife didn't want to spend two plus hours sifting through recipe books and compiling all that data to come up with an organized shopping list.
And now it's just done and it's uh, it really happened so fast.
Roni: Yeah. I mean, she had other stuff to do with her [00:18:00] life.
Riley: don't we all Don't we all? I think that. You don't realize it, but time. Is taken from you very quickly, , you know, just, uh, you know, that doctor's office wait, goes from 10 minutes to to an hour. And so I love the fact that we get to give that time back to people.
Plan to Eat, you know, is a resource to give time back to people. They can do it in the wasted space. They can, uh, do it in just their moments of the day when they see something or they're inspired by something. Maybe they heard our podcast and you know, we always talk about recipes at the end. And. Whatever it is, we're giving them time back to do other things, like the things we want them to do, like which is the things they wanna do, , spend time with their family or have a hobby.
You know, all these other things that we could be doing, resting ,
Roni: if you are doing it in these times of like waiting in the doctor's office, more than likely you're already on your phone scrolling away. So you might as well just do something a little productive for about five minutes, get your meal [00:19:00] plan done, and then you don't have to think about it later.
You know, it's, it's definitely. just commonplace now to be like, you know, you're waiting somewhere, you pull out your phone. Pulling out plan to eat could be the thing that you do before you pull out the social media apps. Um, and just get lost in the scroll. So just something to think about there too.
Riley: Yeah, absolutely. Uh, and I think scrolling through recipes is pretty fun.
Roni: Oh, that's true. Yeah. Or scrolling through Pinterest to find new recipes.
I mean, there's also an element of productivity that I think goes along with, you know, the idea that we talk about a lot, which is just like stressing less. you know, being more organized leads to more pro productivity, which usually leads to less stress. Um, you know, when you're feeling really fla frazzled because you don't feel like you have all the pieces together in your life, it's much easier for all for things to fall through the cla, fall through the cracks.
So I think just having a plan. Being organized just kind of leads to [00:20:00] being more productive in other areas of your life as well. You know, like if you take meal planning and kind of use it as a baseline for, I have my meal plan, my my meals planned for the week. Like, what are other things that I can plan ahead for the week?
You know, like, , can I plan my budget on a week-to-week basis? Can I plan it on a month, a monthly basis? Can we plan our school activities on a, like, you know, plan these things a little bit more ahead of time instead of everything just like crashing in on you and you know, happening. So day-to-day, moment to moment, maybe that's not something for everybody.
Riley and I are planner, personality people. We love to plan ahead. It feels really good to have that knowledge and that security of a plan. You know, potentially if you're somebody who hasn't ever experienced what that feels like, uh, I would give it a try cuz it does feel awesome.
Riley: Yeah. I'm even thinking about times when I've doubled recipes and then frozen half of it. I know I just mentioned freezer meals. At the very end of healthier eating as something that could go into that category. Buts. Certainly falls into this [00:21:00] one, which is, um, I'll make a batch of soup and freeze half of it.
We'll have leftovers and I'll still freeze some of it cuz soup kind of tends to just grow . and then I've done the whole work of creating a recipe, actually cooking the recipe for me and my family for a meal in the future. On a night, maybe when I don't have the time or something came up, or, uh, whatever it is, um, to just have a meal I can pull outta the freezer that's totally cooked already.
and ready to be eaten, just needed to be heated. That kind of thing can, and be another way that you take that wasted. It's not really wasted time. If you're cooking it, you're just doubling it. It's literally taking, you're maximizing time and, and making it, what is that? Like? You're doubling it basically.
Um, cuz you did the work of two dinners in one, in one night. So
We, you know, stress is one of the things that was on our survey and I, So knowing what's for dinner, um, was the question. And um, if people felt like knowing what was for dinner was helpful for them, and [00:22:00] 86% of the people that filled out that survey, uh, reported a decrease in anxiety about meals.
And man, when you're anxious, things just don't go well. You know, I just, I think about myself when I'm anxious about something, it kind of bleeds into other aspects of my life, and if I am, can be less anxious about something, I'll take that , I will wholeheartedly try and take that. So, I, I, I love that one.
I love that stat. And 86% is pretty impressive.
Roni: it's very impressive. And yeah, we've all been in that situation where we don't know what's for dinner. It makes us feel anxious. my personal case, it often makes me feel like I'm not a good like provider, right? Because it's like I was supposed to have this figured out and I don't have it figured out.
Like I was in charge of dinner tonight and I didn't have a plan for it. So now I feel like I did a bad job. and that just, it's like a snowball effect of all of the things that could pile on top of each other and make you feel worse and make you feel more anxious. And so to not have that happen, uh, is just a [00:23:00] total stress reliever for the night.
And potentially, you know, like that's gonna improve, you know, what you cook for dinner, potentially. It's also gonna improve, you know, who you eat that meal with, because if you're a ball of stress, everybody's gonna be like, okay, you go eat by yourself. Or, or you're gonna wanna feel like you just wanna go eat by yourself. Uh, so
Riley: your anxiety leads you to not even being hungry anymore.
Roni: Totally. Yeah. And then you're like, what was this all for Anyways, so yeah, I think that, there's a, there's a deep rabbit hole down there that you can go down related to feeling anxious about dinner and when it's night after night, it just, it gets really old and I think that's why so many people end up defaulting to take out, or just going through the drive through and if that's not a part of your goal or if that's something that you're trying to reduce in your life, having a plan is gonna be the number one best way to help with that.
Riley: Absolutely. And having a reasonable plan. I, I think those are something I wanna touch on for a minute. And maybe this should fall into our, [00:24:00] uh, tips at the end category, but, I don't plan for every night of the week because I know that we're gonna have leftovers or there's gonna be a spontaneous dinner at friend's house or, I don't know.
We're gonna just change our mind and ha make something different. And so I don't plan for seven nights of the week. It's usually three to four. We err on four cuz about three nights. We can fill in all those gaps, you know. But if dinner is something that you stress about frequently, planned sheet pan meals or one pan meals, do things like duplicate double a recipe and then have half of it go in the freezer.
things like that. They really helped me personally be less stressed because pulling something out of the freezer, it just feels so easy. and, but I already, I made it, you know, it's something that I felt good about serving my family. It wasn't, uh, you know, it wasn't something else. I didn't have to go get takeout, whatever the situation is, spending that extra money, even if it's healthy, it's still spending extra money.
[00:25:00] Things like that, they really go a long way for me or, or creating a meal that can be used in multiple ways. Um, maybe I grill extra chicken when we have dinner one night and then that chicken can go for the next night. I might not know what that's gonna be yet. But having some part of dinner pre-cooked, uh, and ready to roll is so helpful.
So if you're somebody who gets really stressed out about dinner, Try to make it easier for yourself. Um, it doesn't have to be gourmet meals every night that take an hour to prepare. They can be really simple, and you can be really proud of them too.
Roni: Totally great tip. All right, well, let's move on to budgeting. Hot topic.
Riley: Our favorite, one of our favorite topics
Roni: one of our favorite topics. I, you know, it's, there's a, it's easy to see the correlation between meal planning and, you know, money and how you can save money at the grocery store because, um, I think. So many people tend to think at the end of the month, wow, I spent a lot of money on food this month,[00:26:00]
So I think it's easy for everybody to see the correlation there. As we always say, one of the best ways to save money on groceries is simply to create a meal plan because then you have a shopping list that is full of ingredients that you're actually gonna use. They're not things that you guessed that you might use.
They're not things that you just perused around the grocery store and put in your cart at random. They're actually items that have a purpose. They're going with a recipe that you planned, and you're buying them in the right quantities for your recipe and for how many people that you wanted to serve.
Yeah. So many great things about just going to the grocery store with a plan, that's gonna save you so much money.
Riley: Yeah, I'd like to actually, uh, backtrack in the process because certainly the grocery store is. Uh, a bleeding place. You know, it's like it bleeds, right? That your money bleeds there. However, I think it really starts with the meal plan you create. So, you know, there's great sites out there, great recipe sites that are [00:27:00] built on the premise of saving money.
They're budget bites and I think spend with pennies is another one. And their recipes are very intentionally built around inexpensive. So if you can start with something like that or start with what you have on hand. I, I think that's something where I have been really trying to lean in is, okay, I have a few things on hand.
How can I utilize them this week so that my grocery budget is lower? So building my plan around things I have on hand. Maybe it's a jar of spaghetti sauce, or maybe it's that I've got a ba, a bag of rice, you know? Or maybe, I don't know, the Brussels sprouts I bought last week, we didn't finish them, so how could I use them this week in the meal plan instead of letting 'em go to waste, um, which is throwing money in the trashcan, you know?
Um, so building your plan around things like that, or inexpensive ingredients. Maybe you're trying to have a really low, low spend week and you're having oatmeal and you know, you're just like, you're, the foods you're having that week are just [00:28:00] lower cost foods, potatoes, and. Things along those lines. Maybe you've got meat in the freezer you could utilize somehow in your meal plan to help you save money.
Uh, I think so. I think it really starts there, in the recipes you select and put on your plan for the week.
Roni: Yeah, that's a great point. And I was gonna say related to that is, you know, starting at that point about what recipes you. Plan on your meal plan. Then even once again, even before you go to the grocery store, going through your cupboards, shopping at home, and checking off the items that you already have, because it stinks to go to the grocery store and be wondering, do we have celery?
I don't remember, or, I think we have some celery. Do we have enough for this recipe? . Um, and just like all the little things, and it's usually the little things. I know you always give the example of your chili powder or just like spices in general. Spices can be really hard to keep track of, but if you just take, you know, three minutes to peruse through your spice cabinet and make sure you have the things that you need, it's gonna save you a lot of money because those little jars of spice.[00:29:00]
can add up very quickly. So, and like I said, it's usually the little things usually you can picture. Okay. We definitely have, you know, that big pork shoulder roast, you know, cuz it's a big item. It's something that's like, you know, you can think about being in your freezer, but when it comes to the little things of like, I don't know, do we have Dejan mustard?
I don't remember
Riley: Right. Particularly those ingredients that you don't use often, but when you need 'em, you need 'em, you know, . Yeah, totally. And that was exactly where, where I was gonna take that. Is that the next step? Would be shopping at home and, and, and or making swaps, you know, like, um, what's a good example of a swap in a recipe?
You know, maybe, uh, maybe you've shopped at home and you're at the store and ground beef. is more expensive than ground Turkey, but this recipe's not, it's not gonna make a huge difference. Get the thing that's on sale. Like once you have your consolidated list, if you can really kind of, you have a little bit of [00:30:00] creativity within that too.
Choose some items that maybe cost a little less or, uh, the thing I love about the plant eat shopping list is just that it gives you an actual amount to purchase. And so instead of buying, You know, maybe you bought, you could buy a, a container of oatmeal. Maybe you go to the single se or the, not the single serve, the like measure the way the
Roni: the bulk.
Riley: the bulk, build your own.
I was coming up with all the words besides bulk, the bulk section. And you're grabbing the exact amount you need for maybe that, uh, oatmeal bake you're making for breakfast every day. And those little tweak. Are not gonna feel that significant in the moment, but they're really, really gonna add up. Um, somebody like my brother, he is a, he is so good at Penny pinching and seeing the best deal, and, and he's the kind of person who'd have an Excel spreadsheet at the end of the year.
And, and he'll say, well, all of my things, I saved $3,000 this year. And I don't think that, that is outrageous to say. , you could go and save that much money [00:31:00] over the course of a year by making really good swaps and having a consolidated list and not buying those random extras that we all accidentally buy when we go into the store.
And so some of it takes discipline, some of it takes really honing in and paying attention. But budget is a huge, it's a huge stressor, you know, and. If you can save money in this area, it can help lower your stress and, and ease up. Maybe the budgets in other areas too.
Roni: Yeah, exactly. We talked with. Erin Lowell of yab, um, back in episode 38. And one of the things that she talked about is there is like levers that you're constantly pulling on. So you have your convenience lever versus your money lever. And so if money is your lever that you're really needing to pull on and you're really needing to save money, sometimes it does come at the cost of some convenience.
Things like one thing that comes to mind meat is always a really easy place. Pick at, because it's often the most expensive part of the grocery store. [00:32:00] But I'm just even thinking, there's a lot of times when a recipe calls for chicken breasts, but a whole chicken can actually cost less than a couple of chicken breasts.
And so, you know, like you can make the swap and get a whole chicken, but you know, at that point you're then having to like roast a whole chicken. You gotta take it apart, all that kind of stuff. If you have the time. , that's a great money saver, but you might also not have the time for that. So just buying the chicken breast is gonna have like, it's gonna be okay.
There's also potentially other areas where you'd be able to save money. But that's just something that I keep thinking about because I actually think it's really easy to, um, forget that convenience aspect of, of saving money and just realizing like if you do have a little bit more time, I think that there was even this lady that you sent me, one of her videos on Instagram or something, and she's like all about like very serious budgeting and her things is even like buy the block of cheese instead of the pre-grad cheese and grate your own cheese because there's actually.
[00:33:00] like a financial difference in the, the same, like the same amount of cheese. The already shredded kind is more expensive than just buying the block of cheese. And to me that seems like a pretty insignificant like time thing, you know, like, you know, taking just a couple minutes to grate your own cheese.
Maybe for some people that is not an area that like, that's not something they wanna do or maybe something they don't feel like they have time for. But it's an easier swap than like a whole chicken versus a chicken breast. I think it's just a, I think that's just an area to think about. And I think that if you're feeling like you don't necessarily know where to start with some of these budget changes,. go listen to episode 38 with Erin because she gives a lot of really great tips, um, for just like easy ways to, you know, start like saving little bits of money at the grocery store because just saving little bits of money at the grocery store can end up to be saving $50 over the course of the month.
Riley: Yeah, absolutely. I, I completely agree. And there's a few more I just wanna think through or run down for people so they kind of can think through them. Um, store [00:34:00] brand.
Canned goods. I know we all have our preferences, or a lot of people have our preferences, but for some things it, you know, if I'm going to eat something like as is, I might have a preference, but if I'm gonna add that can of beans into a soup, it's like the store brand is like 50 cents cheaper.
Doing things like that is another great way, um, to save money. And, and I love that you brought up the levers because. That was one of my favorite parts of that conversation is all those levers are different. You're pulling on at different times in your life. Um, highly. If budgeting is your thing this year, I highly recommend you go and listen to that episode.
Shopping, sales, um, , you know, I just, when you go into the store or maybe use an app using coupons, uh, all those kinds of things. Like if you, you're in the store and you're actually looking at the, uh, I don't know, salad dressing, , and the same flavor of salad dressing that you wanna buy as a dollar cheaper and a different brand.
That's a, that's another good way to, to save, buying dried beans versus canned beans even, [00:35:00] um, is another one. yeah, your block of cheese. I, one is one I was gonna bring up too. Meat is a great one if you can buy it in bulk and take it. What I do is I typically buy it in bulk and then freeze it in individual packets, uh, in my own freezer in portions that we're gonna actually use. And usually that math works out to be much cheaper per pound than if you buy just like one pound of something.
Uh, so that's another one that I would alwa always, always kind of fall back on is those little tips to. Save a little extra money here and there. And I think that we talked about this with Erin too. It's intentionality. Um, it's really ma it's just, it's just opening your eyes to the options, um, and taking the time to kinda maybe do a little math and choose the things that are better.
But I think in general, if you start meal planning, you will see a change in your budget. If that is the only thing you do, you most likely, I don't wanna say definitely, but you most likely will see a change in your budget because you're eating at home. There's no extra cost attached to that. And you can utilize [00:36:00] those things for other meals like lunches and leftovers at other times and dinners and things like that.
Uh, and I think there's naturally that overflow into. Just saving money by planning.
Roni: We've already given a few, given a few tips, um, for, you know, potentially getting started meal planning or maybe getting back in the groove of meal planning. But one thing that I wanna mention that is pretty related to something that Riley's already talked about.
it's just not planning for not thinking that your meal plan has to be a plan for every single day, every single meal. Particularly if you're new to meal planning and you're not, exactly sure. Like how much time you wanna plan ahead for, or, potentially you're somebody who's having, who's struggling to break the going out to eat cycle, in which case you might not wanna plan a ton of days on your meal plan because you might end up with wasted food and then you know, wasted money.
So, Really, you could just start with a couple days, like in [00:37:00] a whole stretch of a week, you maybe plan two dinners and you know, you see like how it shakes out and if you were able to stick to eating those two dinners in that week. Or maybe you need to adjust and start with just one, a really positive thing is to start small. I know that's not easy for everybody. Um, some people are all or nothing kind of people. But trying to focus on like that moderation aspect of meal planning and kind of building the habit as you, you know, kind of like realize these benefits I think is really the way to make it most successful.
Riley: Just so to piggyback on my freezer tip, uh, Plan to Eat does have a freezer feature so that you can add in, uh, the recipes that you have frozen. And I highly recommend it because then they don't get lost in your freezer. You have an easy digital, well written. I'm just thinking about if I had handwritten my list somewhere.
Easy to navigate feature where you can go in and look and see what you've frozen. As long as you add it to your freezer, it's gonna be there. And so I highly recommend that to keep yourself a little more organized. If you're utilizing freezer meals, [00:38:00] I highly recommend you utilize the freezer feature.
Roni: I was actually just talking with somebody the other day. Support and they brought up a really good point that they used the freezer feature as an afterthought kind of. So like instead of planning leftovers on their meal plan and then, you know, like potentially freezing those leftovers, like they will eat the meal, they'll, they'll make the meal and they'll eat it.
And then whatever leftovers they have after the fact is when they'll add those servings to their freezer implant to. , if you're not familiar with the freezer feature and plan to Eat, that might feel a little confusing. But for those of you who use the freezer feature and use it specifically for freezing leftovers, I think that's a really great tip is to kind of use it like after the fact and be like, okay, we originally had six servings and we ate three of them, so let's add three servings of this recipe to the, to the freezer.
I just thought that was kind of a cool way to look at it.
Riley: Yeah, that's great. I do that sometimes.
Riley: cuz a lot of times I go into making a meal and I'm [00:39:00] not planning on freezing it. But again, with soup in particular, it just tends to end up being, I, like, I'm serving 15
um, and so that's a really great way to utilize those leftovers because then they, they go to a place where they can stay for a while instead of having to eat soup every day for every meal for seven days.
Roni: And if you're my husband, he gets very tired of soup, very fast.
Riley: This tip might sound funny, but I'm thinking about the cheese, buying cheese and bulk. I have a, I have an almost three year old and she really likes to grate cheese. That's a task I can give her in the kitchen that she can accomplish. I'm sure there's some munching here and there, but, it's a really great thing for me to give her to do. And so even if I don't like greeting cheese, which I don't mind, but for somebody who doesn't like it, um, do you have somebody in your home who that might be a great task for them to get involved in the kitchen with you? Give that to them. I know that my sister-in-law always has her husband, chop all the veggies for a salad like that.
He just doesn't mind it. He just does it and it's great. And [00:40:00] so like that's a task that she can give him. And so she doesn't buy pre-chopped veggies. , she has him do it . And so, if you're doing something like that little swap to save a little bit of money or maybe just save time, uh, who in your home could you?
Uh, I don't know. I'm thinking about with my daughter, just like she loves to be in the kitchen with me, and that is a great job and task for her. So, um, highly recommend something like that. Just utilizing the people in your life as well as the tips like.
Roni: right. Well, so another thing that I wanted to bring up is having a meal planning. , which is something that Riley and I have talked about before because we are each other's meal planning buddies, . But in, in Plan to Eat you can connect with other people as friends and you can see their recipes.
You can see saved menus that they have. So if part of your struggle with meal planning is coming up with inspiration for what you should plan, or what you could put on your meal plan, you know, having somebody else to use as like an inspiration backboard, um, is gonna be really helpful. And [00:41:00] particularly if it's somebody that you know and trust, you're then going to really appreciate their, their recommendation because you'll know, okay, like, they like the same foods that I like, or they like the same flavors that I like.
And so, you know, a recipe recommendation from them definitely means that I should try this recipe. You know, we have a plan to eat account specifically for the podcast, with an ever-increasing number of recipes in it. So you can go to plantoeat.com/PT, E P O D, and you can connect with those recipes there.
So you can connect just with the podcast account and start planning some of the recipes that we've talked about here on the podcast. Like if, if you think that the, the flavors and the, the meals that we like are things that you would also like, um, that's a great resource.
Riley: I know we already have mentioned this. I think it's worth mentioning again, and I, and I say that because it's working so well for me, uh, sometimes when I sit down to actually make the meal plan, my brain is empty. I can't think of [00:42:00] anything to cook or eat, or maybe I do it, I often do it after dinner, so I'm not even hungry, you know, there's no stimulation to figure out what we could or what I want to eat, that kind of thing.
So I have two tips. One planted has a res, a random recipe generator. Uh, utilize that, because that can bring things up from the depths of your recipe bank. If you've been with us for a while, um, that you maybe haven't cooked in a long time, uh, and or something new, maybe you've stored it in your account and never made it, that's a great place to kinda like find a new recipe.
The other thing that we've already mentioned is when you think about something that you wanna eat, just immediately add it to your plant
Riley: and then you're building that meal plan for. throughout the week, throughout the day, whatever it is. Um, I just struggle with inspiration sometimes when I actually sit down to do the task.
Um, it's kind of like when I go to write a blog post, my brain just goes empty Um, I kind of have to start mulling over those kinds of things before I do them. And so for me, if I start planning when I'm thinking about [00:43:00] something, that sounds good. Or like you said, you see something on a menu at a restaurant.
Um, or if somebody mentioned something to me at our house like, oh, this, oh, I wanna come, I want to eat that. We haven't had that in a while. That sounds great. Let me add it to my meal plan. Just do it in that moment. Um, that's something that works really well for me and kinda just, uh, it feels really productive.
Roni: Oh yeah. All right. Well, I think we could probably wrap up for today. Thank you guys for joining us for this episode. RI do you have a recipe that you wanna talk about today?
Riley: yes. I think I've talked about this one before. Have I talked about my breakfast casserole?
Riley: I make an incredibly delicious breakfast casserole if I do say so myself. , It is incredibly simple to make and it freezes beautifully. It's something that, uh, I've made recently and I have some in the freezer right now so I can go pull out, it's, uh, potatoes on the bottom.
Sausage, it's eggs, it's cheese, green chilies, uh, a little bit of seasoning. You put it all in all together and you actually freeze it with the raw egg and it thaws great and [00:44:00] cooks great. I've never had any issues with. , um, not cooking beautifully. Yeah, and I, so I actually, it just like goes into the freezer and freezes just like all those ingredients together, um, mixed up and then you pull it out and thaw it and cook it and it's delicious and it's really simple.
Roni: that sounds awesome. Do you eat it mostly for breakfast or do you eat it for as a dinner? For breakfast?
Riley: um, mostly for breakfast. But I love dinner. I love breakfast for dinner,
Riley: When we have breakfast for dinner, my daughter is always like, that was a really good breakfast. And I'm like, it, but it was dinner. She's like, but it was breakfast. But , she gets confused and,
you know, have to remind her bedtime is coming soon. uh, what about you, Roni? What about a recipe you've had recently?
Roni: So I don't think I've talked about this recipe before and I'm kind of surprised about it, but it's a sausage and cherry tomatoes skillet, and it's just like an easy. One pop meal, it's like, can literally take 10 minutes. But it's just Italian sausage and [00:45:00] cherry tomatoes, garlic, um, red pepper flakes.
And then like, so you saute all of those things until the tomatoes get kind of squishy and um, and then you top it off with some broccolini It's really, it's yummy. You can like have, eat it with a little bit of toasty bread to kinda like, so up the tomato juices that like the, like garlicy tomato juice that it comes in.
it's super good and you can, I think the original recipe calls for just like already cooked sausage. So that's why it can come together so quickly is cuz you don't have to wait for the sausage to cook. I think I usually just buy sausage that needs to get cooked cuz I like the flavor of it a little better.
But either way, it's a recipe that happens, comes together really fast and uh, I think I've made it so many times at this point that I don't need to look at the recipe anymore.
Riley: Yeah, that sounds great.
Well, thank you so much for joining us on another episode of the Plan to eat Podcast. We hope that these tips and that this conversation was helpful for you. And if there's something you'd like to hear about, you should let us know [00:46:00] by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, um, and sharing your ideas with us.
Roni: Thanks for listening.