January 2012 Monthly Meal Plan

Our Monthly Meal Plan has kind of become a staple of our budgeting process.  Rather than planning for meals from week to week, we put in a little extra time and effort and knock it out right away.  It takes a little discipline, but sticking to the plan can keep costs down and lead to a healthier and closer knit family.  Research supports the notion that having dinner as a family has a number of benefits for the kids (http://children.webmd.com/guide/family-dinners-are-important).

It’s a brand new year and with a new year comes a feeling of renewal and a great opportunity for a fresh start.  For us, that means kick starting our diet.  We are starting the year off with the 2012 Whole Living Action Plan, a 21 day detox designed to give you more energy, help you sleep better, and help you lose weight.  Basically, it cuts out every that we eat from day to day and replaces it with the produce section.  The plan eventually adds in seafood and eggs, but we are pushing the envelope a bit.

For the first six weeks of 2012, including the 3-week detox, our diet will be totally vegan.  No meat, seafood, cheese, eggs, milk, or even honey will be included in our meal plan during that time.  For the following six weeks, we will adjust to a vegetarian diet, reintroducing animal products, but not animal flesh.  Many of our dinner leftovers will be re-purposed as lunches.

We hope that this 12-week plan will not only help us to accomplish some much needed weight loss and increase our energy levels, but to give us a greater appreciation for what we are putting into our bodies.  We hope that it helps us to focus our meal plans less around meats and processed starches and more around healthy grains and fruits and vegetables.

With that, here is our first meal plan for the new year.  We hope that you find it intriguing, varied, and, most of all, delicious.

January 2012 Monthly Meal Plan

Week 1 (January 1 – January 7)

Sunday–Potato, Cabbage, and Chickpea Stew
Monday–Steamed Broccoli and Butternut Squash w/ Tahini Dressing
Tuesday–Roasted Peppers and Cauliflower w/ Almonds
Wednesday–Stir Fry Veggies
Thursday–Butternut Squash Soup w/ Steamed Cauliflower and Sauteed Mushrooms
Friday–Greek Salad
Saturday–Roasted Ratatouille

Week 2 (January 8 – January 14)

Sunday–White Bean and Mushroom Stew
Monday–Red Lentil Soup
Tuesday–Roasted Vegetables and Cannelini Beans
Wednesday–Baked Sweet Potato w/ Broccoli
Thursday–White Bean and Mushroom Stew
Friday–Red Lentil Soup
Saturday–Falafel

Week 3 (January 15 – January 21)

Sunday–Acorn Squash w/ Quinoa and Pistachios
Monday–Chickpea Brown Rice Burger
Tuesday–Veggie Fried Rice
Wednesday–Kale, White Bean, and Potato Stew
Thursday–Rice Noodles w/ Broccoli, Kale, and Mushrooms
Friday–Polenta w/ Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce
Saturday–Lentils w/ Rice and Kale

Week 4 (January 22 – January 28)

Sunday–Chickpea Curry w/ Naan
Monday–Veggies w/ Lentils
Tuesday–Quinoa Salad w/ Almonds
Wednesday–Spaghetti Dinner
Thursday–Baked Sweet Potato
Friday–Veggie Stir Fry w/ Rice
Saturday–Polenta w/ Mushrooms

Week 5 (January 29 – February 4)

Sunday–Dahl w/ Naan
Monday–Pasta w/ Peas and Mushrooms
Tuesday–Squash and Kale w/ Rice
Wednesday–See February Meal Plan
Thursday–See February Meal Plan
Friday–See February Meal Plan
Saturday–See February Meal Plan

As always, if you are looking for recipes or answers on monthly meal planning, please leave a comment or email us with your questions.  We can’t promise that we will have all of the answers, but we will do our best to find them!  Just send us an email at simplybudgeted@gmail.com.

Have you tried monthly meal planning? How did it go? Any tips or suggestions?