Planning out a menu for an entire week at a time will not only save you time and money, it will minimize the worry over what you’re preparing for any given day. Menu planning takes me about 20 minutes. Here’s how I do it:
Get your favorite grocery store’s circular ad (almost always available online if the print copy isn’t delivered to you).
Sit down with your circular, a pencil, and a piece of paper. If having a warm cup of tea, a plate of cookies, and putting your feet up will help this task feel relaxing to you then by all means indulge!
Scan the circular for sales on which you’d like to stock up and what meats are specially priced. Using a small piece of paper, which will be hung on your fridge, note what meals & sides you’d like to make for 6 or 7 days worth of food based on the sale items offered in the circular. (We usually do a leftover day) Take heed of special nights on your family’s calendar where a quick or portable meal is needed & plan accordingly.
Check your pantry!
Be sure to quickly check your pantry and fridge for items that need to be used up before they spoil. Avoid a second trip to the grocery store by making sure that you have items stocked in your cabinets.
Start your list.
On a separate piece of paper, make a list of every item you’ll need for the week, including cleaning, hygiene, and household supplies. I like to set up my list by aisle in the store. For example, I’ll list all the produce items first because that is what’s in aisle 1 of my grocery store. Ordering in this manner will save you valuable time in the store by making your trip more efficient.
Shop once (and don’t go in hungry!).
Once your list is set up, make your way to the store. Never shop on an empty stomach to avoid impulse purchases. Oh, and be quite sure that your excellent husband, should he be joining you, is also well fed. Husbands can be budget busters!
Get through the store in an efficient manner by using your ordered grocery list. STICK TO THE LIST! Try not to add this or that unless you find a bargain you’d like to take advantage of. Get everything you need so you don’t have to make a trip back to the store until next week.
Reuse your list.
If you’ve had a successful week of meals that your family enjoyed, file that list and save yourself the planning next time around!
On the refrigerator in our kitchen we have a scrap piece of paper with “Meals That Receive 5 Petey Thumbs Up” scribbled on it. Over the years I’ve recorded the meals that all 5 members of our family really enjoy. Mostly I do this because I have no memory left these days, but it also serves as a quick Go-To list for pantry meals and quick weekly menu ideas.
Start keeping track of meals that are quick, healthy, and easy to prepare but most importantly ones that every member of your family enjoys. This easy little action will save you time when you plan your menu for the week.