Do you menu plan every week? How do you do it?

Monday, August 17, 2009 Hand-posted by Jennifer

broc_caulif I’m not much of a menu planning person and our meals tend to be pretty boring since we’re picky eaters.  As my children are getting older and our schedules are becoming more busy I think this is an area I will need to look at adjusting.

I ran across this post at Life as Mom that was a very interesting read and thought I’d point it out for anyone else who might be interested.  She talks about how she decides between her Starches and Fruits/Veggies and recaps her menu plan for the week with a few links to some recipes. 

I know I see several bloggers who do very extensive posts for their Menu Plan Monday but others like myself who never really mention it. 

How many of you menu plan?  How do you do it?  Tips/Suggestions?  Leave me some comments!


  1. Gabrielle said...

    I first consider what needs to be used out of the pantry, freezer, refrigerator, and garden. Most of the times, these are the side items and snacks that we have throughout the week. Next, I look at what is on sale as far as meat goes--what do I have a coupon for? Next, I consider what our week will look like--need to have a quick to prepare meal on Tuesday, having company over the weekend, etc. After all of those things are taken into account, I write out the menu and make note of what steps I need to take to prepare--take meat out of freezer on Tuesday for Wednesday's meal, soak beans on Wednesday night to make on Thursday, etc.

    Clear as mud?? Lots of factors to consider. I hope this helps some.

  2. Coupon Teacher said...

    I menu plan because I work all day, and the last thing I want to do is spend half the evening figuring out dinner.

  3. Cindy@LivingRich said...

    My menu planning is necessary because I work all day and if I don't I'm so tired when I get home that I don't even feel like thinking about what to cook and then you know what happens...we order out and spend money.
    I use what I call a flexible menu planning. I decide the main dishes that I am going to cook during the week and just make a list. I have kids that are in and out, at practice and work and I never know who is going to be home for dinner so making a list of things I can choose from helps me to stay focused on what I want to cook as well as keeps me flexible depending on who is going to be home.
    As far as picky eaters, I cook and they can eat or not but they must sit at the table. I have done that since they were little and trust me, they are quite healthy and they now eat pretty much anything. I do, however, know meals that each of them really like and try to make them as often as possible.
    Wow, that was a post by itself. Sorry for taking up so much space in your comments :)

  4. Honey said...

    I meal plan similarly to Gabrielle. I look into the fridge and counter tops for anything that needs to be used within a few days. And I build meals around that. Then I look at our stockpile (freezer, pantry shelves) to see what other meals can be made. Then if there are still gaps, I plan a couple meals that we choose. I just make a list of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners so we have a little flexibility about what night things are served. Then I make a list of things at the bottom of my page to do, bake, and defrost. Then I look at the calendar real quick to see if we have commitments outside the home or for some reason need a quicker meal. Then I pencil in the day of the week I anticipate using that easy meal. For instance, we go to chuch on Sunday, so out big meal is lunch. (Dinner is usually leftovers or cereal because I go to the grocery instead of cooking.) I like having a plan, but also have to remember to be flexible. Lately we have been blessed with different items from people's gardens so I may have to shift gears and use those items to make a meal so they don't get wasted or spoil.

  5. Penny Penguin said...

    Wow! Menu planning has been crucial to me cutting our grocery budget in half! I hate the half hour before dinner when we are starving and have no idea what to make! I do my plan "quick and dirty." I have been keeping a list of our favorite dishes so I don't have to think at all. I also lay out the latest Kroger ad to see what is on sale that I may be lacking from my stockpile. I lay out my calendar with notes of who will be home and when. I write in one meal per day - I currently only plan diners. I always have chef boyardee stuff for lunches plus sandwich stuff. I have tons of cereal, pancake mix, eggs, and the occasional box of cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Not too much thought needed there.

    With a plan, we have been able to cut our budget from about $400/month to $200/month (I also learned how to use coupons in that time, but the weeks I don't plan, I spend a lot more on food). My goal is to shave another $50 off per month even though we have a dog and a baby.

    Hope that helps!

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