Whether you live 50 miles from the nearest grocery store, or just around the corner, planning meals ahead of time is a fantastic way to save time and money. It might be a little old-fashioned, but you’ll be amazed by how much easier it can make the week out to be!
Here are some of my tips for making menu-planning a success:
- Check weather – Check the forecast when you’re making your menu. Is it soup weather? Do you need to avoid using the oven?
- Check schedules – If the kids have a million activities, then fast meals are probably your best bet. But, if it’s a slow week, go ahead and plan that three-course meal!
- Check sales – Some people prefer to shop by what’s on sale, so check your market to see what you can get a deal on when making your meal plan
- Gather recipes – Get all your recipes for the week together so you don’t have to search. Bookmark those in books and pull out anything written out somewhere. I keep a folder with this week’s recipes in a special place on my cookbook shelf just for this purpose.
- Make one new recipe – You don’t want to get in a rut, so try and make at least one new thing every week.
- Reuse ingredients – If your recipe only calls for 1 cup of spaghetti sauce, then try and find another recipe to use the rest of it. Make those ingredients work for you!
- Plan for leftovers – If you tend to have leftovers, then use them by planning one less meal than you probably need and force yourself to use them!
- Make grocery list at the same time – I take a piece of paper and on the lefthand side I’ll write out my meals. On the other side of the paper I’ll make a grocery list with everything I need for each meal item as I go, plus any odds and ends. This makes meal planning so much simpler!
- Take suggestions – Don’t forget to ask your family if there’s anything in particular they want to eat to add to the menu.
- Don’t over plan – Last, but not least, don’t over plan! Leave room for improvisation and leftovers. After all, you don’t want to feel like a slave to your list.
How do you plan your meals? Do you have any tips or tricks? Share with me in the comments!