I had a menu plan when we were first married and the boys were little. But for some reason, over time, I quit doing a menu.
Almost 2 years ago, my friend Deborah remarked about her menu planning and how much it helped her. So I decided to revive it again.
I forgot how much I like having a menu. I no longer spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME (3 times a day) wondering what I should make for a meal or looking in the fridge or pantry to see what I can make.
A friend asked me what I do if I don't feel like eating what I have planned for the day. It doesn't happen. Somehow I always feel like eating what I know we are having that day.
It takes a little more work ahead of time, but it is worth the stress and hassle I was going through every day. Writing it on a menu board also assures (most of the time) that I know what to take out of the freezer in time for it to thaw ahead of time. The menu board also cuts down on the incessant question of "Mom, what's for _______________?" :o)
Oh, it is also good for our budget because we have a LOT fewer days when we have to go out to the grocery store for something or out to eat because there isn't anything.
Ok, so here's what I do...
1. write out all of the days and meals for about 2 weeks at a time in a notebook (Day of the week followed by the date)
2. fill out all of the meals that are the same (ie: every Sunday morning is cereal and supper is Family Nite)
3. look at the calendar to see what is going on in our family. I schedule meals that are appropriate to the activities of the day. Busy days often get a crock pot or convenience meal. Nicer or larger suppers are planned for when we have company. Etc.
4. fill out all the meals
5. make out a grocery list to make sure I have everything we need to make the scheduled meals plus any staples we need. I also include snack and dessert items on my list.
Here's what a page of my plan looks like...