After I posted the Menu Plan for the week, I had a reader ask if I had any tips. I can’t stress enough how much this has saved my sanity, time, and money.
Honestly, I dreaded deciding what to make for dinner each night. My husband can be picky so I never knew what to make. Menu planning has allowed us to sit down and go through some recipes. He told me some of his favorites and some he was willing to try. You could do this with your family-get them involved by letting them each choose a meal once or twice a month.
Another tip is to assign a certain type of food for each day. For example:
Monday-Italian(spaghetti, alfredo, chicken parmigiana, etc)
Tuesday-Mexican(burritos, enchiladas, tacos, etc)
Wednesday-Soup, Salad, Sandwiches or a combination
Thursday-Leftovers(and this could be you incorporating leftover ingredients into a new dish)
Friday-Something Grilled(Burgers, BBQ Chicken, Brats, etc)
Saturday-Dine out or something simple
Other ideas: meatless dinner or breakfast for dinner.
Most weeks there is at least one if not more days that we don’t eat exactly what’s on the menu. Some days whatever is on the menu just doesn’t sound good so we move it to another day or week. Be flexible with it!
I shared this in the Watch Me Wednesday-Menu Planning video, but here are some of the questions I ask myself when I sit down to write the menu plan(note-it’s usually Thursday night so I can have it posted on here for all of you Saturday!-My husband often looks on the website to see what’s for dinner!)
What do I have on hand?-I look through my cupboards and at my freezer inventory list to see what I have to work with for the week.
What is on sale?-Here’s where I look through the ads or the shopping lists to see what is on sale and what meals I could make with what I have on hand and on sale.
What do we have going on?-I look at the calendar to see which nights we have activities that will interfer with dinner.
What new recipes do I want to try?-Do I have all the ingredients I’ll need including spices?
These questions help me to create a menu and a shopping list based on what I will need to make the meals. You will notice most of the time the items shown on the Saturday Spending Recap don’t make up a complete meal, but that is because I try to buy items at their lowest sale price so I’m never paying full price.
I hope this gives you a little bit of a starting point. Start small even if that means only planning for a few nights each week until you get the hang of it!
I’d love to hear if you’ve started menu planning and whether it’s made a difference! Also, if you start after reading this post, good luck and let us know how it’s going! We can all use a little encouragement now and then!