How to Menu Plan

How to Menu Plan

Menu planning is seriously one of my favorite things to do! I love finding new recipes, browsing through Pinterest, and finding new family favorite recipes that we love. I thought it might be helpful to do a post about menu planning. I am by no means an expert, but hopefully I can give you some good tips about how to menu plan.

Having your menu plan ready for the week saves you time (no more daily runs to the grocery store), saves you money (no more mindless purchases during those daily grocery store runs), and it will save your sanity (no more temper tantrum throwing toddlers who are ornery and crying for something to eat at 5:00).

I want to also add that I plan my menu weekly. I used to do it for 2 weeks at a time, but I found that I could not get all my groceries, like produce and some meats, because they would go bad within a week. Therefore, I had to make several grocery store runs during those 2 weeks, which resulted in more money spent and time wasted. 

So, let’s get started!

  • Get yourself a spiral notebook (one that you can only use every week for menu planning). What I do is browse through my Pinterest boards. Honestly, Pinterest is the only thing I use. I have a board of recipes we have made & loved  that I look at, and then I just browse through the rest and find stuff that looks good to me and stuff that I think my kids will actually eat. I plan for 6 meals each week with the other day being a leftovers dinner. I also plan at least one snack type food to make for the kids (banana bread, energy bites, etc) and I plan 1 dessert, because honestly, who can really go all week without a cookie or piece of cale? Not us! I write down 6 dinners, the snack, & the dessert and underneath each one I write the ingredients I know I will need [I always have spices, baking ingredients, chicken broth, rice, etc on hand].
    • Another tip is to make a new board on your Pinterest and title it something like ‘menu plan’ or ‘things to make’ [see my menu plan board where I keep the recipes that are on my menu for the week] and then as you are browsing Pinterest during the week pin stuff to that board that you would want to make for dinner. That is what I do, and it makes it easier than going through all your Pinterest boards, one-by-one, to find stuff that looks good. 
    • Here is an example: I want to make potato soup. Underneath it I write the ingredients; it calls for chicken broth √, milk √, onion, garlic, sour cream, bacon bits, cheese, potato, cheese √, flour √, salt & pepper √. Those check marked items are things that I always have in my kitchen; so I only have to write down, under Potato Soup, those items that I don’t have [onion, garlic, 1/2 c sour cream, bacon bits, 3 lbs potato] And that’s it! 

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  • Then I also make a list of ‘things that I normally buy every week’ like cereal, oatmeal packets, mandarin oranges (I have two kids who are obsessed!), baby food, yogurt, butter, milk, etc.
  • Now you will make your grocery list. Take a new piece of paper and start writing down those ingredients you listed from the previous steps. As seen in the picture above (beginning of post), I like to group my items to the store layout. All produce together at the top, then frozen goods, then all canned goods, then baking/cereal/snacks, then onto the dairy items. This way you go to the store and start at the top of your list and get those items, and then you work your way through your list and the store. So easy and it saves you money at the grocery store because you already know what you’re going to buy.

Try this and let me know how it works for you, or leave a comment and tell me how you do your menu plan. It’s always fun to get others advice and tips on this stuff. Thanks for stopping by & please visit us here again soon.

♥ Jessica

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