Everyone talks about menu planning. It’s a fantastic topic and necessary for everyday family life. I expend so much more energy when I don’t make a menu plan by running to and from the store and coming up with different ideas and I spend way more money because I’m going to the store two or three times a week (we’ll talk more about that tomorrow!)
If you need help with it, I highly recommend Mystie Winckler’s Simplified Pantry cookbooks, menu plan, and shopping system.
My system is similar to hers, but not exactly and I don’t have the pantry component.
First, I have a grocery list that I hang on the side of my fridge. It’s in one of those magnetic calendar hangers realtors hand out for free. My list is separated into sections: Dairy, Meat/Freezer, Aisles, Produce, and Other. Arranging the list by where I find the items helps me not have to backtrack:
I keep it on the fridge so I can write on the list when I use the last of something or am going to need something.
Printed on the back of my grocery list, is a table for meal planning for the week.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Prep for Tomorrow. There are seven days plus one for emergencies or taking a meal to a friend in need. That way if I go beyond my plan, I have some cushion. I always like to have my plan with me at the store because sometimes I’ll substitute based on a special sale or realize I forgot a necessary item for some meal.
I always look at my Google Calendar and note the activities for each day because that will affect what I cook. Piano Lesson day is an all-day crockpot meal because the kitchen opens into the dining room where the piano is and I don’t want to be disruptive during lessons. If we only have soccer, then something I can cook in the afternoon and keep warm will do. I also pay attention to what can and what needs to be prepped the night ahead - like snacks for the team. I also look at the weather forecast, because there are some meals I simply don’t want on a 90* day, especially if I can make a big cobb salad and pull it out of the fridge when we get home.
Finally, after shopping, I try to write the plan on this whiteboard so I - and everyone else in the family - can see it. Sometimes, if they know what’s up, I get extra help!
Knowing what we’re going to eat, having a bit of cushion, knowing what has to be done ahead of time. These things keep me sane.