Start Planning A Weekly Menu

25 Oct

 The Benefits of Menu Planning

Grab a cup of tea and let's start menu planning!

The Benefits of Weekly Menu Plans

For the past couple of years I have been a huge fan of menu planning.   Not only does it complement my somewhat organized nature, but I find that it saves us a bundle in groceries.  By purposefully only buying the ingredients we need I waste less money.  It also helps me to plan more creative leftovers.  I married a sweet man who hates leftovers so it is important that they do not appear too often in our week. J  Menu planning also helps my family to incorporate healthier food items into our menu.  We are less likely to have a weak moment and head out to eat if I already know what is for dinner (or if it is in the Crock-Pot).  I do enjoy cooking for the most part but not when it is five o’clock and I have no idea what is for dinner.   Although Brandon laughed at me the first time he found our menu posted to the refrigerator door last year I know that he secretly enjoys it.  He will look it over when I put it on the fridge and say Yeah we are having _____ this week!  Are you ready to try it yourself?  Grab a cup of something hot and delicious and let’s dive in to menu planning!

1)      I like to start with a piece of paper and write out all of the days of the week.  Then underneath the days I write B, L, D (breakfast, lunch, dinner).  Next I write down any special meals that we will be eating out or having company in our home for.  I also try to note when I might be taking a meal to someone as I usually just double the meal and my family enjoys the same meal that night.  Also I think about what food is in season or what meat will be on sale this week. 

2)      Next I like to tackle breakfasts for the week.  In our home we really do not eat cereal since we find it both expensive and lacking in nutrients.  Our breakfast menu varies a little but usually includes 1 nice home cooked breakfast for Brandon on Thursday mornings which would include some type of meat since Thursday is his only morning off.  I also usually alternate between making muffins or a loaf of specialty bread.  Other breakfast ideas that make our menu include: scrambled eggs, smoothies, yogurt & granola, soaked oatmeal, rice pudding, omelets, French toast, waffles, pancakes, fresh fruit, etc.  We also like to include hot tea every morning.  If you are looking to really simplify your breakfast menu I would recommend having a breakfast food on a particular day each week.  For example Mondays would be smoothies, Tuesdays soaked oatmeal, etc. 

3)      In our home lunches are the boring meals and usually consist of some combination of soup, salad, and sandwiches.  If you enjoy leftovers you could also plan on eating leftovers for lunch which is what I do when Brandon has a ministry lunch.  I like leftovers. We also enjoy a nice Sunday lunch each week which does not include a sandwich. 

4)      For dinners I like to plan them around different protein sources (chicken, beef, pork, beans, fish).  Themes would also work well.  We also include soup once a week.  It is nutritious, economical, and a great way to use up leftovers.  A vegetarian dinner also makes its way into our dinner menu once a week too. 

5)      I like to keep a list of favorite dinners so that as I am planning the menu I can just look down the list and choose one.  If you do not have a list then I would encourage you to look through your cookbooks and write down some of your favorites. 

6)      Think about how time intensive the menus that you are planning are going to be.  Right now since I am in a season of tutoring 6 hours a week for the ACT we are enjoying some Crock-Pot meals on those evenings and saving the more elaborate dinners for the weekend. 

For a great prinatable form to help make menu planning easier check out:

What are your favorite menu planning tips?

One Response to “Start Planning A Weekly Menu”

  1. Aunt Carolyn October 30, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    If there is a certain food item that I want to make sure it is part of our diet I collect recipes with this particular food item. For example, we like to have at least 1 tomato based meal a week because we grow lots of tomaotes and they are good for you. If I collect and try different recipes then keep our favorites I can vary the type of tomato recipe each week so we don’t get tired of eating the same thing.

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