For a few months, Nathan and I had slipped into a very bad habit of eating out or buying food at the grocery store piecemeal for different meals we wanted to have. This was expensive and of course, not good for us. I decided to put a stop to it and began making menus and then creating shopping lists from the menus and using that when I bought food, adhering to the lists as strictly as possible. Then we had meals for two weeks, or if something unforeseen came up and we ended up eating elsehwere, longer than two weeks. Plus the left overs provided good options for lunches and dinners after the two weeks. Flipping through cookbooks to find different foods also helped expand what we eat on a normal basis.
The system worked fairly well the first run through. I only bought about two things that weren't on the list and we stuck to the planned meals mostly. The second run through has been less successful. First, I completely forgot to buy food for one meal, then we went through a week in which Nathan was sick, then I was sick, and no one wants to eat a full dinner when they are sick, no matter how great it is. Then my sister got married last Saturday and we were eating out Friday and Saturday nights, of course.
I'm hoping to be back on track with it this week.