When you grocery shop, do you buy...
some chicken, some fish, some pork, some red meat? In other words do you try to plan different protein sources for each meal? How do you grocery shop? How do you meal plan? I used to buy just what looked good and was at a good price...for everything, not just meat. But now, I am trying to plan meals more or less by the week. So when I shop, I am thinking, "we need a chicken meal, a meat meal, fish meal, vegetarian meal,..." Is this how you do it? If not, what are your thought processes as you grocery shop.
Yes. We go to the supermarket armed with a list of things we need to buy to cook specific recipes over the coming days.
I go to the farmers market first and get whatever produce looks good. Then I form the menu for the week around that. I'm a vegetarian, but my significant other isn't, so for him I usually do try to vary the meats during the week. When I have time to really sit down and enjoy my menu planning I look through my cookbooks (or use eatyourbooks.com) to find new recipes that include the produce that I bought. When I don't have as much time to plan, I stick with more basic preparations.
We shop more or less as Harters described with some modification. As prices soar here in the Northeast US I now plan dinner menus for the week with 3 vegetarian, 1 fish and 3 meats, incorporating organic poultry, pork and bison and wild caught seafood We try to buy seasonal produce as far as we are able. During the winter, when local farms are not selling "their own", we try to avoid imported fruit and vegetables and buy as close to home as possible...east coast. On the meatless days I cook legumes, whole grains, and pasta.
Because we like a variety of cuisines and because we participate in the COTM our pantry is frequently in need of restocking one or two items. As it is now we can cook practically anything we want without added expense. We only shop once a week and cook everything "from scratch:.
My wife does most of the grocery shopping. She follows a process quite similar to the OP's description, but with a fist full of coupons in hand. If she has a specific meal plan in mind for any of the groceries she's purchased she tells me about it. Otherwise, it's open season on anything and everything. I like to reach into the freezer (or one of her shopping bags) and grab something, anything, and use whatever it is to plan a meal around. It's almost as much fun as planning a meal around left overs. it's also an excellent way to learn more about the versatility of all kinds of foods.
Before I head to the grocery store on monday morning ( my shopping for the week|) I will look thr what is in the freezer,have a rough plan for the week . I also tend to bulk cook and freeze so that its easier for me.But here is an example:
Monday - chilli ( from the freezer) need to make corn bread and salad( stuff for that)
Tue - Rice and lentils and a vegetable( which i decide at the grocery store looking at produce and the rest of the stuff is already in the pantry)
Wed - Soup and salad ( stuff needed for the soup and salad to be got)
etc....This works the best for me ,after all my permutations and combinations.
I dont think I can handle a chicken meal, a fish meal kind of planning. I will try keep it easy and cook two diff meats two vegi meals one leftovers and fix it yourself day and one day just open either for take out or last min planning. But my last minute meal will be a mix of whatever is there .