4 Reasons Why You Should Be Menu Planning
Sunday is generally a restful, relaxing, do-nothing kind of day around our house. We lounge on the couch, watch a little TV in the morning, maybe play some video games (Little Big Planet and Lego Super Hero Marvel – Thrilling 😉 ), and just hang together as a family.
Unfortunately, Sunday also reminds us of the inevitable – Monday is coming. Once the week starts it seems to fly by at break neck speed. There’s preschool and homework (Homework in preschool? Seriously?), laundry and dishes, baths and of course, the never-ending demand for food.
What’s for dinner? It’s the question that can haunt any parent (seriously, I’ve had nightmares about it).
Many people make the frantic run to the grocery store at the last-minute, wandering the aisles for an answer to the “What’s for dinner, mom” dilemma. Not this mama – not anymore. I am done with those stressful days.
Instead, I take about a half an hour out of each Sunday, peruse my personal recipes, Pinterest (my fav!), and of course, other bloggers sites. I come up with a list of meals for each evenings dinner (some people plan all 3 meals each day but I do not), write them all down on a Post-it in my Bullet journal (much more on that topic to come), and as I go, I also make a list of ingredients for each meal.
What’s In It for You
- Menu planning saves you money. You’ll use less gas traipsing back and forth to the grocery store, planning your meals around what is on sale at your store for the week is an easy way to stretch your budget, and there will be much less impulse buying. Stick to the list, people! Stick to the list!
- A menu plan helps you feed your family healthier foods. Gone are the days of hitting up the drive thru because you can’t think of anything to cook. Gone are the days of grabbing a frozen pizza, made of god-knows-what.
- Menu planning allows you to double or even triple your recipes and fill up your freezer for those nights when life gets in the way or you are just too dang tired to cook!
- Planning ahead saves you time in the long run. There will be no more aimlessly wandering the aisles, no more staring into the abyss of the fridge/pantry/freezer, trying desperately to concoct some sort of edible something. No more begging your family to help you decide what to make.
Where to Start
1) First, take a quick inventory of your fridge, pantry, and freezer. Are there ingredients that need to get used before they go bad? Do you have a roast in the freezer that would make a great easy crock pot dinner? Jot down what you have on hand and move to step two.
2) Look for specials and sales at your grocery store. Your main resources will be the circulars from your local newspaper and / or your store website.
I also love couponing blogs that list out sales items along with available coupons for each item. Seriously, the blog, Pocket Your Dollars, changed my life as a mom and wife. Go check out her site and then try to find a similar one for your area using keywords such as Couponing + blog + your city/town etc…
3) Using your inventory list, your circulars and favorite resource for recipes – pick seven dinners. As you decide on each dinner, immediately put the ingredients you need on your grocery list.
4) Post your menu plan somewhere for your family to see– no more “What’s for dinner?” questions!
5) Go shopping and embrace the feeling of saving money, time, and your sanity!
My Menu Plan for the Week
* I always shoot for the following routine: Meatless Monday’s, 1-2 nights with fish as the main ingredient, 1-2 nights of leftovers, and 1 “cheat meal” (less healthy than other nights).
Tuesday: Chicken and Veggie Sheet Bake
Thursday: Parmesan Broiled Tilapia
That’s it! It may seem a little time-consuming but trust me – once you get used to doing it every week, it goes so fast!
Try it out for a few weeks and let me know what you think!
Don’t forget to grab your FREE menu planning printable(s)!