Menu Planning, Not As Hard As It Seems

I’ve noticed that a lot more people are talking about menu planning here lately. Some have been doing this for years, others a few weeks/months, and still others just flat out refuse! I love the excuses that I’ve heard for NOT planning a menu:

  • I don’t have time
  • I never stick to a menu
  • My family’s too picky
  • It’s too hard to plan a menu

Those are just a few that I LOVE to hear! Menu planning is not that hard, and it takes very little of your time! I have made plans for 1 week, 2 weeks, and for 1 month. I really like to do the monthly menu plan because I like not having to think about what we’re going to have for dinner for a whole month.  To do this, even for 1 week, you need to know what meals your fixing for your family.  Track your meals on a calendar for a whole month.  See what patterns develop and then plan around that with a few new meals thrown in for variety.

The real key to monthly menu planning can be summed up in one word:  FLEXIBILITY.  If you’re not willing to be flexible, you’re going to become frustrated and give up.  Don’t forget about your slow cooker.  It can really make your meals a lot more manageable and easier to get dinner on the table.  Most meals that you cook in the oven can be adapted to cook in your slow cooker.

Make sure that you cook meals that you know your family will eat.  You’re not going to save any money by fixing meals that you end up throwing out because your family doesn’t like them.  Also, prep ahead.  Chop extra veggies.  It doesn’t take any more time to chop 4 carrots instead of 2, or 2 onions instead of 1.  The extras can be kept in the fridge for a few days, or the freezer for longer term storage.   This helps shave a few minutes off your prep time later in the week when it matters the most.

One more thing to remember is to keep staples on hand.  If you have staples, then all you need to do is pick up the ingredients you need to fill in the gaps with those ingredients you don’t use as often.  Also, if your family likes spaghetti, keep all the ingredients for a quick spaghetti meal on hand for those nights when there’s very little time to get a meal on the table.  You can have spaghetti with sauce, garlic bread, and even salad on the table within 30 minutes.   There are other meals that can be pulled together just as quickly, it just depends on your family’s tastes.

If you’ve never tried menu planning, give it a try.  It’s not that hard, and it will help make a busy schedule a little easier to manage by knowing that dinner is already planned.

Last 5 Articles Added By Stephanie Martin

About Stephanie Martin

Stephanie Martin, a work-at-home-mom of 2 daughters and 1 son, and the owner and publisher of Busy Moms Online, and site with information for busy moms, and My Country Haven, a blog documenting her life living on a farm and their frugal journey of remaining debt free while becoming more self-sufficient.

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