I am a weekly menu planning convert. I used to loosely menu plan every week, but it was a juxtaposed, disorganized method of planning. But, even when I did that (as in the bare minimum of planning) I felt very relieved each day when I knew exactly what I was making and it took a mental load off the day’s plan. So, by loosely planning, I would have a basic idea of what I was making and end up at store same day of dinner to get ingredients and I may only have 2 ideas for week.
I wanted to try a more organized format and I am loving it so far. I am one of those people that once something is organized, I get anal and stay organized (usually). But getting me to that organized part is a HUGE challenge. So, this is what I do to menu plan:
1) I review Nick & I’s calendar- work events for either of us, school activities, blah blah are marked off & a meal is not necessary (we typically make the girls something easy those days- microwave meatballs, beans, etc…)
2) Choose the meals for the week- our favorites, new things I want to try, whatever we feel like. Check out my Nom Nom Nom Board on Pinterest for menu ideas, I love The Everygirl’s weekly roundup of 20-30 meals and the old fashioned way- cookbooks!
(this was last week’s menu planning page)
3) Next to each meal, I wrote down the ingredients I will need to buy and I make a weekly trip to Trader Joe’s and use grocery delivery service.
The following is not sponsored (although it is my referral link) , I just think grocery delivery is a gift from the heavens and rave about it to everyone I know.
I mostly shop at Trader Joe’s which unfortunately does not use Instacart. But, some weeks I have a ton that can be picked up using Instacart- I take my grocery list from the menu planner and order everything that is not Trader Joe’s via Instacart. It is worth every additional penny, it is not an expensive delivery charge and I tip the delivery person. So, someone else shops at grocery store for me? Saving me an hour or more? And, I dont drag 3 kids with me? Best.decision.ever. Best.invention.ever. I.love.you.
I use the menu idea printable to save ideas that I come across in cookbooks or magazines (below is a list from Cherry Bombe of meals I want to try). I write the meal and page number. If I want something out of a magazine I will likely clip it out and add to the binder.
Something I am very excited about (holy shit, I am so old cuz I am so excited about menu planning) is when I have months of weekly menus in the binder and I can look through them and pick our favorites- or even redo a week if I do not want to expend any mental energy.
Do you guys meal plan? Do you have any tips? I have only been doing it for about a month, so I will love any menu planning tips you have!
Download the printables here- menu idea printable