Menu Planning: Resources and Tips for Getting Started + Free Meal Plan Printable
Meal Planning takes a bit of planning out, however, the results mean less work during the week and less last minute lunch packing or “What are we going to do for dinner”?
More and more people are menu planning. Are you?
Some have been doing it for years, others a few weeks/months, and still others just flat out refuse! I love the excuses that I’ve heard for NOT planning a menu:
- I don’t have time
- I never stick to a menu
- My family’s too picky
- It’s too hard to plan a menu
Those are just a few that I LOVE to hear! Menu planning is not that hard, and it takes very little of your time! I have made plans for 1 week, 2 weeks, and for 1 month. I really like to do the monthly menu plan because I like not having to think about what we’re going to have for dinner for a whole month. To do this, even for 1 week, you need to know what meals your fixing for your family. Track your meals on a calendar for a whole month. See what patterns develop and then plan around that with a few new meals thrown in for variety.
The real key to monthly menu planning can be summed up in one word: FLEXIBILITY. If you’re not willing to be flexible, you’re going to become frustrated and give up. Don’t forget about your slow cooker. It can really make your meals a lot more manageable and easier to get dinner on the table. Most meals that you cook in the oven can be adapted to cook in your slow cooker.
Make sure that you cook meals that you know your family will eat. You’re not going to save any money by fixing meals that you end up throwing out because your family doesn’t like them. Also, prep ahead. Chop extra veggies. It doesn’t take any more time to chop 4 carrots instead of 2, or 2 onions instead of 1. The extras can be kept in the fridge for a few days, or the freezer for longer term storage. This helps shave a few minutes off your prep time later in the week when it matters the most.
One more thing to remember is to keep staples on hand. If you have staples, then all you need to do is pick up the ingredients you need to fill in the gaps with those ingredients you don’t use as often. Also, if your family likes spaghetti, keep all the ingredients for a quick spaghetti meal on hand for those nights when there’s very little time to get a meal on the table. You can have spaghetti with sauce, garlic bread, and even salad on the table within 30 minutes. There are other meals that can be pulled together just as quickly, it just depends on your family’s tastes.
MEAL PLANNING TIPS
- Meal Planning 101: How To Meal Plan – Getting Started
- How To Get Started Meal Planning
- 15 Tips for Better Weekly Meal Planning
- 5 Brilliant Apps to Make Meal Planning Easy
- How to Make a Money-Saving Meal Plan You’ll Actually Stick To
- Healthy Eating Meal Plans (From WholeFoods)
- Six Steps to Successful Menu Planning
- Your Four-Week Dinner Plan
MEAL PLANNING APPS & TOOLS
- Meal Planner Pro | Your Free Meal Planning Solution
- Plan to Eat: Meal Planner and Grocery Shopping List Maker
- Paprika Meal Planning App
- Pepperplate Meal Planning App
- The Mealboard Meal Planning App
- Meal Plan Magic
- Meals Plus
MEAL PLANNING / RECIPE RESOURCE BLOGS
- Meal Planning Magic
- Plan To Eat
- Don’t Waste The Crumbs
- Life, Love & Thyme
- Art from my Table
- It is a Keeper
- Real Home Cook
- Crystal & Co.
- 100 Days of Real Food
If you’ve never tried menu planning, give it a try. It’s not that hard, and it will help make a busy schedule a little easier to manage by knowing that dinner is already planned.
Plan your weekly menu with this Free Printable Meal Planner from MomSkoop!
Download Our Free Meal Plan Printable
Stephanie Martin, a work-at-home-mom of 2 daughters and 1 son, and the owner and publisher of Busy Moms Online and My Country Haven, a blog documenting her life living on a farm and their frugal journey of remaining debt free while becoming more self-sufficient.