The Importance of Menu Planning
Summer is wonder and difficult all at the same time. There is so much to do with activities, vacations, events, on top of the usual work and household chores (inside and out). All of this creates the perfect storm of distractions that that get us out of our routines.
Not that it is all bad. Shaking things up can be very good. But not always.
The area where I notice it the most is in my menu planning. It almost stops completely during the summer. And because of that I make more trips to the grocery store and spend more on food and even waste more by having to toss expired food.
Menu planning is an often overlooked aspect of home life. But it is extremely important for making your evenings go easier. No one wants to come home after work, hurry to get some outside chores done and then try to figure out what to make for dinner, only to find that you don’t have the ingredients! That happens to me when I don’t have a menu. When I do create the menu for the week, my evenings are lot less stressful.
Menu Creation: Just take 15 minutes to plan your weekly evening meals (lunches and breakfast are not part of my planning process). When you are done: you will have a week of meal ideas and a shopping list.
Step 1: Look at the sales flyers from the grocery stores. See what is in season and on sale and try to plan your meals accordingly if you are want to spend less on groceries.
Step 2: Know your calendar. What days will you need quick meals because of lessons/meetings/etc.? Make note of those days.
Step 3: Assign a meal to a day. Don’t worry, you can change your mind later about what to eat on what day. The goal is have a meal and all the ingredients you need to make in the house. It is much easier to look at the menu and decide you want to make Thursday’s meal on Tuesday instead.
Step 4: Make your grocery list according your menu plan. (I like to go grocery shopping ONCE a week, but that can only be possible when I make a menu).
Step 5: Post your menu plan in the kitchen and go shopping!
That is it. Not rocket science. But the relief of taking the time to plan and prepare when you can – makes the busy days so much easier and less stressful.
Above is an example of weekly menu plan with a grocery list that I like. I have framed mine and use a dry erase marker to write on the glass. Saves paper and it holds up better. I love having the grocery list on the side for family members to add things that they need for the next week of grocery shopping.