Plan the menu ahead of time. Every Saturday I plan my menu for the next week. This includes making frozen or bulk food on Sunday.
- Saves time - When I get home from work, I know what's for dinner and I've already got everything on hand.
- Saves money - Before I started menu planning, we'd eat out (or carry out) easily five nights a week. Seriously expensive.
- Healthier - Food out is almost always higher in calories and sodium. Also, since you are planning, you can ensure that you are serving a mix of different types of meats, veggies, etc.
Things to think about:
- What is your schedule?
- If you are super busy, make sure you have more crockpot recipies.
- If you know you aren't going
- What do you already have?
- What canned goods can you incorporate into your menu?
- Did you skip cooking in one night last week?
- What coupons do you have?
- Try to incorporate these into your menu
- What meals?
- I only plan dinners. Lunch is leftovers or sandwiches. But, if you have more complicated needs, you might want to plan all
- Maybe snacks need to be planned too.
- I always have a protein, a starch and veggies. Since I'm TTC, I want to make sure nutrition is top most and I try to keep in mind the recommended foods.
- Do you like variety? I do. Trying a new recipe is fun for me. I print out, copy or tear from magazines my favorite recipes. Then I put them into seasonal categories.
- Do you like consistency? I know a few people who have canned menus. Ten or twenty sets of recipes.
- I make a list of the items I have on hand (mental or paper, depending on quantity)
- I find the coupons for my favorite store (I usually swap store weeks. I don't have time to run around.)
- Think about the days that you have less time vs more time.
- I look at the items and piece together a list of foods that I can make.
- I grab out the seasonal recipe binder and pick a couple of recipes that look tasty and match with either items on hand or on sale.
- I put it into a week's worth of menus, derive a shopping list, and I put it up on the fridge for all to see.
- In pantry/fridge I had: Eggs, Baked Beans, Grits, Canned Tuna, Lots of pasta, Frozen Chicken, Canned Pineapple
- I found coupons for: Pork Tenderloin, Cabbage
- I want to spend a little extra time on Saturday and make a nice meal. I know Tuesday and Thursday will be busy.
- 5. 6. See outcome below:
This week's Menu:
Date Night in!
Celery Root Soup (make extra), Cabbage Con Carnitas, Bree
Pasta alla Canned Tonno
Grits, Scrambled Eggs, Baked Beans and Collard Greens
Crockpot Chicken (using the leftover Celery Root Soup); canned corn; rice
Leftover Chicken and Carnitas Meatballs with Spaghetti and Sauce; coleslaw (with the leftover cabbage)
Crockpot Black Bean Soup; cornbread; pineapple
What about you? How do you coral the meal plan madness? What methods do you use?