I do not have a weekly menu to post this week due to other obligations. Instead I thought I would share a bit about my prefered method to plan my menus. Have a great week.
Monthly menu planning is something I love to do (do it once and get ‘er done) and have been doing for just over a year now. Before that I was a weekly planner, but got tired of always having to sit down and plan.
It was actually Linsay at Passionate Homemaking that introduced me to what monthly meal planning could actually look like and even provided a wonderful document to put it all on. (If everything could be done in Excel or Word and put into wonderful tables, life would just be grand.) Although I love to have the menu made up for the month I don’t like to do all my shopping at one time for the month. I tried this, but it just didn’t work out for us so I went back to buying things as they came on sale, changing the menu plan if needed, and in general tried to keep the house well stocked.
There are some differences between planning by the month versus by the week, but there are also a lot of similarities. A big one is that when you plan by the week, you can plan around your activities for that particular week and the sales. When I started planning by the month I had to look ahead and guess at some of the activities, remember to keep things flexible and have a couple easy meals in mind in case things changed.
Also, I try to use the first month, or a random month along the way, to eat what we have and not need to buy a lot. This then allows me to start buying more of what is on sale and stocking the house better. (November was one of the months I did this recently. With the holidays coming up I knew there were going to be some good sales.) It is easier to plan for the month if you know you already have 5 lbs of ground beef, 10 chicken breasts, 4 lbs of ground turkey, a package of brats, 15 bags of frozen veggies, etc. in the house. You don’t have to worry about paying full price for those items. Now, depending on your family, that may not go a long way. For others, you could probably make it the whole month plus some with that food alone.
I thought about talking more about this topic, then realized that there were so many other places it had already been talked about. Instead I am going to share some links to different topics concerning montly meal planning.
http://simplemom.net/how-to-menu-plan/ - “A Basic Guide to Menu Planning”
An article from eHow walks you through the though processes for planning a montly menu.
http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2012/09/simple-menu-planning.html - “Simple Menu Planning”
http://simplemom.net/menu-planning-resources/ - “Menu Planning Resources”
For those who may want to take step up your spreadsheet check out this planner I found on Vertex42. He has taken the standard menu and added drop down menu you can select you meal list from. You can edit the meal list to fit your meal choices. There is also a Montly Meal Planner with Grocery List.
http://monthlymealplanner.com/ - An online version of planning it out on paper. They also provide ideas for recipes, a link to their blog, a recipe box and more.
http://picklebums.com/2011/03/07/montly-menu-plan/ - Printable menu plans
At 5dollardinners Erin talk about why she plans her menus monthly.
If after reading all of that you still have questions feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer them.
What is the best method for you, at this moment in time, to menu plan? Have you tried other ways? Did they succeed at that time or flop?