When do you plan your weekly menus? Do you plan? The more people in your home that you have to feed every day, the more you need a plan. In this case, the old saying is true, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Planning a weekly menu might be a little hard for you to get in to if you’ve never done it. But like everything else it just takes practice. You will get better at it as you do it more often. Don’t be discouraged if your plans don’t work out just the way you had envisioned, plans rarely do. You just go with it and make lemonade out of lemons… if that’s on your menu!
Here is how I started meal planning. I do it a bit differently today, but this is a good way to start.
1. Gather up some tried and trusted cookbooks or recipe collections.
2. Ask family members to write down some favorite meals.
3. Look through the cookbooks and collections and note page numbers and titles.
Decide how many meals you are planning for and how many people (servings). If you are planning for a 7 day week, and you normally prepare three meals a day of some kind, then you will have 7 each of breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Use your family’s suggestions to help you find recipes that you like.
Its helpful to get a blank calendar and write menus on that. If you don’t have a calendar, just use a piece of paper. Figure out what you would like to serve for breakfasts. Write down all the choices, like this:
cereal and toast
oatmeal and toast
bacon and eggs
yogurt and granola
Notice that I don’t have 7 different choices I just have 5 choices. I will pick two breakfast meals to repeat during the week.
Now I take into consideration how many people I feed at breakfast. I normally feed 4. Oats and pancake fixings are staples, so I just make sure I have those on hand from week to week.
I would add bacon and eggs, granola and yogurt to my grocery list.
Do this for all your meals. Go by your recipes to know how much of any one thing you need to buy. If you keep your meals simple, you won’t have to buy so much. Casseroles might taste good, but they are notoriously expensive and unhealthy. My rule of thumb is to keep to 6 ingredients or less.
After you have all your Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner meals planned, and remember you can repeat some meals, and you have it all written down, make your grocery list.
Its handy to make your list with all your dairy products together, all produce products together, etc. I like to have a pre-printed list sometimes. Here is a page with 10 popular grocery lists to print.
Printable Grocery Lists
My weekly Menu Plan looks something like this:
oats and toast
cereal and fruit
yogurt and granola
bacon and eggs
Whole wheat wraps with tomato, lettuce, sour cream and dill, cucumber and sliced turkey
Burritos with beans, salsa and cheese
Apples and peanut butter, sliced cheese
Soup and cheese wrap
Flat bread with bean spread, sprouts and sliced fruit
Roast pork, corn bread and salad
Chicken wings, baked potato and sliced tomato
Spaghetti and garlic bread, salad
Beef skillet with brown rice
Quinoa Tabouleh and homemade tomato soup, whole wheat crackers
Grilled chicken, coleslaw, twice baked potatoes
I would go through my pantry and see what staples I have on hand and what I need to buy. Staples are things like brown rice, oats, flour, sugar, oil, garlic, etc.
Next I will list what I need to buy and how much I need to buy.
If I decided Monday morning that no one really wanted oats that morning, I’d switch up and have the yogurt and granola. That’s the great thing about planning for a week’s worth of meals instead of a specific meal for each specific day.
Do you plan your meals? What is the most difficult thing about planning for you? Is there anything I can help you with?