Organizing Tip of the Day: Menu Planning

If someone asked you if you would like to save money, time, and stress, you’d most likely say yes,right?  Eating is a fact of life: we gotta do it people!!  And if we have a family too….well that is more tummies to be responsible for.  It can get quite overwhelming when you reach the 5:00 hour and you’re tired and hungry and have no idea what to do for dinner (cue crazy kid noise in the background like at my house, above).  Some people will hit the restaurants, some will hit the deli, and still more will go get a few groceries at the craziest grocery store hour all day: dinner time!  It’s no secret that going into a grocery store hungry means you are buying more things that look good as opposed to what you’ll need = time and money wasted. It’s also no secret that by the time you get home, you wanted dinner yesterday, and you have yet to even prepare anything…yuck!  A simple solution that works for many people is: menu planning. Here’s a step by step process to help you save money, time, and stress around the mealtimes in you life.

  1. Gather a calendar and a piece of paper for a grocery list. (I use one of the free calendars I get every year, pictured at right).
  2. Make a grocery list.  My list has the items grouped in the order I hit them in my favorite store (see below).  This way, I move through the store seamlessly, without wasted time zigzagging all over the place.  I feel crazy enough shopping with all three kids in tow, I don’t need more craziness!  My geographic areas (based where I would find the items): produce, dairy, misc/meat,  box/can, bulk, deli.  Amy over at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free has a free printable grocery list that is free and works with the same idea!
  3. Pick some recipes/meals using your favorite blog(s), favorite cookbooks, your standbys, etc.  When you select a recipe, write it down on the calendar, and write down any lacking ingredients on your grocery list. I usually plan 5-8 meals at a time. You could do more.
  4. Hit the grocery store armed with your list and stick to it!
I use recycled paper to copy these – this is not fancy!

Daily, before you leave for work, or at lunch time, or……(pick a time that works for you!) refer to the calendar, decide what’s for dinner.  Remove anything from the freezer to thaw.

Now you know that when you start to cook, all your ingredients are available to you without any last minute trips to the grocery store.  You also know what’s in your food as YOU are preparing it and control all the goodness that goes into it (feels good to be king/queen)!  Goodbye processed convenience foods!

Notice the decidedly not-fancy calendar I use, stuck to some cork board I adhered to an invisible side of my cupboards (let’s face it, this calendar is not something I want in sight line, aesthetically of course!).

Try menu planning for a week or two and see if it does not help improve your mealtime sanity! Let me know if you need any tweaking ideas for your special circumstances.

Print Friendly
Be Sociable, Share!

When her third child was born with severe food allergies, Tessa took to the kitchen to figure out how to feed her family well. Always up for a culinary challenge, their journey has taken many twists and turns! Lots of Paleo, and lots of top 8 free. Good food for families, that's what she's about!

Tagged with:
Posted in Organizing
3 comments on “Organizing Tip of the Day: Menu Planning
  1. Jennifer says:

    I have been doing menu's for years… and being that I live an hours drive to economically priced food (our little grocery store has OUTRAGEOUS prices) means that I really need to have an idea of what we are making a whole month in advance. Another thing that I thought I would share is that I have typed up a grocery list of the items I know I will continually need to stock up on (staples) & leave a few spaces under each section (like: fruits, canned, frozen, grains etc) to write in items that I might need for a new recipe, but would normally not buy on a regular basis. I have typed it on the computer and print the grocery list off every month when I sit down and do our months menu! Then all I have to do is highlight the items that I need or write in items that a new recipe or seasonal recipe calls for & we need.

  2. Tessa says:

    I can imagine you'd HAVE to plan ahead with an hours drive to competitive grocery prices. I do something similar…I have categories within the grocery store listed in the order I hit them in the store I frequently shop (i.e. produce, dairy, meats/misc, box/can, deli), that way I can make it through quickly without missing things as they are roughly in order in the way I will find them! I like your idea…lots of people could do this and have standby's they purchase again and again…thanks Jen!

  3. thanks for this!

    Come check out my list of 100 Smoothies! Comment if you’d like on which one is you favorite!

    Love, Traci @ Ordinary Inspirations http://www.ordinaryinspirations.blogspot.com/2012/04/100-smoothie-recipes.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge
Welcome, I am happy you are here!
My name is Tessa, and I have learned to cook without almost all major allergens! I have a focus on making family foods as healthy as possible. Real food is my obsession. Gluten free, casein free, vegan, Paleo, sugar free: I have a little of something for anyone with restrictions., Take a peek, you're sure to find something delicious, and if you need any help, I am always willing to help you tweak things to YOUR tastes and dietary needs!
Looking for Something?
The search bar we bloggers are given is maddeningly useless...the best way is to do a simple Google search with any key words and my name (tessa domestic)!
Social Media Facebook Email Twitter Stumble Upon Pinterest Velvet Aroma
Receive All New Posts Via Email!

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Keep Up With Me on Facebook!
Categories
$5 or $10 OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER! CLICK HERE!
Stalkerville My Gallery Badge

All Gluten-Free Desserts...All the Time
Food Frenzy Digest