“What’s for dinner?” In parenting world, that is right up there with “Are we there yet?”. Yet, there is a simple solution for it all. Menu Planning. That’s right, a weekly or even monthly menu can make dinner or any meals so much easier.
Menu Planning: How to
Let’s break down how to get started on menu planning. How many people are in your family that you feed regularly? For many households this is an easy answer, but often, those with teenagers, this can vary greatly. (Sometimes they are home, sometimes they don’t want to eat with us or sometimes they are working)
When my children were younger, I would write out our scheduled by the month. For example, Tuesday might be soccer practice, Wednesday is church night, Thursday is mom and dad’s date night and Saturday is soccer games, etc. This makes a big difference in knowing what kind of meals you need to make or if you need to eat out. Menu planning can make keeping up your schedule, maintaining your grocery budget and managing your sanity!
Now, make a list of all the meals you and your family enjoy. These can be fast meals, crockpot or Instapot meals, freezer meals, etc. Having a selection of go to meals will make menu planning even easier. If you know you need a meal cooked quickly, prepping a crockpot meal that will be ready for you when you get home would be a great idea.
Having a menu planned out can also allow other family members to step in and help with meal preparation. I am sure to make a note of where the recipe is for the meal and that all ingredients are available. Freezer meals are another easy way for family to help but thawing out in advance or getting it started.
Menu Planners: What works for you
I started off using an Erin Condren planner as my menu planner. Now I use it to see what meals to choose from 🙂 In order to set it up, I used stickers to write the meal on and I would write the recipes in the note paper in the back of the planner. This book stays in my kitchen at all times and all family members know where it is and how to find that day’s meal.
When I began couponing, I moved to a move mobile menu planner. This is an insert you can purchase that not only lets you make a menu, but also list the groceries you will need. I added inserts to hold the coupons and store cards as well. This made grocery shopping a breeze! All my menus, lists and coupons in one place. I still use this system. I have found this to be the best way to remember!
This is a super simple way to menu plan. I also use this when I am working on menu planning. One sheet, tear off and throw away. This is perfect if you aren’t looking to use past menus to help you plan.
I also use a Menu Planning board in my kitchen. There is no doubt what’s for dinner. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable instead of eating out.
Creating a system that your family knows and understands will make meals so much easier. No more dreaded dinner questions and responsibility all around. Now, What’s for dinner?