Let’s talk about menu planning…
A couple of years ago, my day looked like this:
3:30 pm – Oh no! I don’t have any idea what to make for supper.
4:00 pm – What should I make? What do I have in the house?
5:00 pm – Order pizza.
This went on far too often and I was getting discouraged with myself. I am an organized person and was home with my kids all day. Why couldn’t I have supper on the table every night?
After one particularly stressful day of trying to figure out what to put on the supper table, I decided it was time to menu plan.
Surprisingly it took no time at all to get used to weekly menu planning and was surprised at how happy and stress-free I felt leading up to supper time!
Now when people around me are stressing about what to put on the table for supper, and ask me what I’m making – I’ve got an answer! And a plan!
Do you menu plan your family meals? Is it easy for you? Here are 4 tips for meal planning and a tip to save you money at the grocery store each week!
MENU PLANNING 101
MAKE A RECIPE DATABASE
Compile all your recipes in one spot! I made a recipe binder with all the recipes my family loves and enjoys. If you have recipes in too many different spots, this might be a great idea for you. If you prefer to keep all your recipes in the books they are in, write out a list of all the meal ideas you like to make for your family so that when you are deciding what to make for the week you have one list to look at.
*A good idea would also be to write the name of the cookbook and page number with the recipe name.
GET A CALENDAR
Print out (or buy) a calendar that is strictly for meal planning. I like monthly calendars that I can personalize with the month.
DECIDE HOW LONG ONE MEAL PLAN WILL LAST
I prefer to plan weekly, as our lives are busy and can change at any moment. I know many people that plan for the whole month or two weeks at a time. Do whatever works best for your family.
You may find that during summer or winter months you prefer to meal plan more often or less depending on your family activities.
MEAL PLAN & WRITE SHOPPING LIST
Sales flyers show up at my house on Thursday and I generally get my grocery shopping done on Saturday mornings. So sometime between when my sales flyers arrive and my shopping trip I sit down with my recipe binder, calendar and flyers and figure out which meals my family will be eating for the next week.
** Here’s a tip for saving money while meal planning: I plan the following week’s meals around what is on sale at the stores. This allows my family to be a little frugal in how we are spending grocery money and often our family eats what is in season.
Of course, there are times when what I have planned on the supper menu doesn’t work because of spur of the moment plans, or we’re all not very hungry for that meal.
So I allow one day a week to be a flex plan. Maybe it will be something easy like pancakes or mac & cheese or a take out day.
Do you menu plan your family meals? Is it easy for you? What are your menu planning tips?
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