Planning a menu each week can save you time and money. It’s worth it to consider a menu plan to simplify your life, and if you already have a process, it’s always worth looking at possibilities to make it more functional for your family and your needs, both in the long run and right now.
Menu planning comes in many different shapes and forms, and it can be different for every family based on your schedule, your likes and dislikes and what works for you. Some people grab dinner ingredients from the store on their way home from work, planning their meal during the day or the night before. Others plan menus weeks or months at a time, and there are people who use a rotating menu and a revolving door method for each week, simply switching out each week for a new week of preplanned meals.
Not only do people have different ways of planning their nightly meals, but there are different ways of managing your meal plan once you figure out what works for you. Tsh from Simple Mom uses Google calendar to keep track of a monthly meal plan where two of the weeks repeat each month. Alternatively, you may find that planning around weekly specials is a good way for you to manage what you feed your family.
Why do we plan a menu?
*It helps cut our grocery bill by buying with a specific meal in mind or being able to stock up without letting the food go to waste. We can plan around weekly specials and deals, what’s left from last week, scheduled activities and whatever else may come up.
*It saves time when mealtime rolls around because we already have dinner started, thawing and know how long it will take to cook. We don’t waste time deciding if we want to try a new recipe, running to the store for one or two things that aren’t in the house or putting of dinner hoping it will just appear on its own.
*We eat out less because we have a meal planned for each night, and we’re less likely to have a night where it gets late and we realize we don’t have enough time to make any of the available options. This also means we eat healthier because we are controlling exactly what goes into our food, and I love feeling good about what I’m giving to my children.
*I’ve found that it gets the whole family involved in the meal preparation instead of one person doing the majority of the work. Because we know what we’re going to eat, it’s easy to assign jobs for the kids or for Ole or I to jump in and out of the preparation as necessary.
A few great resources:
Simple Mom’s How to Plan a Menu
Organized Home Menu Planning to Save Time
Hillbilly Housewife Menu Planning
The USDA also has a page with recipes and tips for menu planning.
Photo by a2gemma