Although I once wrote about why you shouldn’t plan for things, I DO think you should plan your weekly meals. There are many reasons to create a meal plan each week: making a plan requires that you look through the pantry to see what you already have, you waste less food because you are regularly checking the back of the fridge, you don’t spend all day wandering through the store trying to remember what you came in for, and, ultimately, you save time and money. For me, however, the most compelling reason is that I don’t have to figure out what we’re going to have for dinner at 6:00 when I walk in the door at 5:15. That is priceless.
My own weekly menus (as is true of my grocery lists) have evolved considerably since kids came on the scene and my planning is often done in the minutes between breaking up fights over who was using the brown lego tree trunks or getting someone (who was not myself) something to eat. Also, I found that my weekly meal plan – which lived a double-life as our grocery list – was messy and disorganized, which left me wandering through the store trying to remember what I came in for in the first place.
Something had to give, so I started from scratch. Instead of two menus – one for the kids snacks and lunches and one for our family dinners – I created a clean, simple table with a column for each day of the week. The first breakfast of the day is usually cereal, so I often use breakfast to plan the kids' morning snack for school.
This whole beautiful sheet gets tacked onto the refrigerator door where it stays in full-view as I came downstairs – bleery-eyed and in need of coffee – so I know exactly what needs to be prepared each day.
I have high hopes that this will solve all our grocery shopping, meal planning problems. And bring world peace. (Hey, you never know!)
Our menu planner is available on our website, for just $4.99!