Menu Planning

August 27, 2008 at 11:39 am (finance, Life, Organizing) (, , , , , , , , , )

I have a friend that plans her family meals every week.  She sits down on a Saturday and writes out a menu, then a shopping list.  Clever!  I know this is not a new idea but it is one that I have always desired to try out and have not.  I do not think I have implemented a weekly menu because I do not want to sit down for 30 minutes planning.


There are many pluses to menu planning, the number one plus I can see would be to save money.  Money is something that many folks, me included, are short on right now.  Another plus could be a higher amount of healthy meals, less stress, earlier eating times and less waste.


Menu planning for my friend includes fresh ingredients and herbs.  My current dinner plan includes milk as the fresh ingredient, (we eat entirely too much hamburger helper).

Putting more thought into each days meal should produce meals that are healthy and do not include MSG.


I say that meal planning could result in less stress for me.  Let me explain why.  I am away from home about 9 hours out of everyday (commute and work hours combined).  I get home and have about 30 minutes before I need to take my son to football practice.  I pick him up at 7:50pm and get home about 8:00pm.  Starting dinner at this time is definitely not a good idea.  My son needs to get to bed early for school the next day, which starts for him at 7:30am.  I have thought about cooking dinner while my eldest child is at football practice but it requires quite a bit of preparation as my husband is not home to “watch” the stove or oven while I am doing the pick up.  Having my family eat at different times is out of the question, I like us to eat together for every meal.  To get to the point, by planning ahead I can pop something in right at 5:45pm have it finish by 7:30pm pick up my son and eat early.  I would also avoid the “last minute” fast food run that happens about 2-3 times a week currently.  This last point goes back to the healthier meals discussion above.


Eating earlier would be a great benefit for my family.  The times that dinner is not finished until 9:00pm causes problems for sleep schedules, shower schedules and plenty of grouchiness to go around.  I have heard that it is unhealthy to go to bed right after eating a meal, if you know this to be true let me know!


Lastly, I say less waste.  It is unbelievable how much food I buy and need to throw out because we have not used it in a meal and it went bad.  I know I have quite a few blueberries, some cauliflower and lettuce that are spoiled.  Menu planning would enable me to use what I have, buy only what I need and use it up!


I have printed out a calendar and will be sitting down for thirty minutes this weekend to put out a menu and shopping list for next week.  Once I get the menu planning down I will be able to pick and choose coupons to add to my savings.  If you have any neat recipes or suggestions please let me know.  I need all the help I can get to make this a success.


1 Comment

  1. joetaxpayer said,

    Combined with the above, might I suggest some “cook ahead” plan?
    One Saturday or Sunday a month, try loading up to cook three or four meals at once, all large (two or more family meal size). For example, while a large pot of chili is up, you also put up a lasagna. Also a pot of thick soup that will pass as a meal. And a pan of meatballs you can bag and freeze.
    When I am caught short on time, I can throw the meatballs in a pot with sauce and by the time the pasta is ready, the meatballs are defrosted and hot. 20 minutes from frozen to the table. The chili or lasagna can defrost in the fridge overnight. Just a thought for you.


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