After a long day with the kiddos, the last thing I feel like doing is making a decision about what to eat. I am drained, they are hungry and McDonald’s looks, and even sounds, very tempting. But, we don’t do that quite as much now that I menu plan.
I started to menu plan to help avoid the overspending of either take-out or grocery shopping at the last minute. It has helped us ensure we are saving our money and are eating healthier meals. Quite honestly, I can plan better to ensure that the kids are getting items on the menu they also enjoy! Although, they have never complained about Ronald and friends.
Menu Planning is simply creating a menu for your family meals. If you are interested in 1) preventing headaches, 2) saving your money, and 3) saving your time you may want to give it a try.
Here are a few tips to help you if you are interested in Menu Planning:
What does your family eat?
What they *actually* eat. I have a Menu Planning Recipe Box that includes the meals my family eats the most. This is a great resource to utilize as you are creating the meal ideas for your family and will be helpful as you plan too. Your list will help you focus energy on the meals your family enjoys.
What is on sale?
With the list of your family favorites, look at the grocery ads to find ingredients you can prepare on the cheap. By doing this, you are getting these items at a discount. You will probably have items in your pantry or freezer that you can use as well (stockpiling items at low, low prices is a good thing to consider). Your menu plan will help to prevent last minute trips to the store.
How often will you Menu Plan?
I personally plan my menu by the week, but some menu plan by the month. Just pick a frequency that works for you and start planning. With your list of meal ideas and grocery list of menu ingredients, creating your actual menu plan will be an easy step.
Creating your Menu Plan
Keeping a written/printed menu plan is the easiest thing to do. Each Sunday, I create and print off our Menu Plan for the upcoming week. I pull or print required recipes. I then clip all recipes together and hang on the fridge for quick access when I’m ready to cook. This step helps to execute your plan. I can quickly look at the menu plan and get meat thawing in the fridge or bring items up from our stockpile. So, when it’s time to cook, the prep is done and I just prepare our feast!
Menu Planning helps tremendously, but sometimes life gets in the way and I don’t prepare each meal as planned. But, at least I have a plan in place so I don’t overspend trying to pull something together on the fly. I feel better about what I do accomplish because at least I took the time to prepare a plan. And, knowing I saved time, money and a few headaches makes it worth it for me!