Friday, August 20, 2010

Menu Planning

I know, I know - I haven't blogged here in forever. Now that I'm finally posting, it's not even a new recipe.

In my journey to cook healthy, but tasty and affordable meals for our little family I've tried many methods of menu planning. Not planning out the meals I'll cook each week is not an option. If I don't write out a list of meals, we end up eating out or having cereal for dinner. Plus, we have random groceries left unused. For a while I would just write out meals on paper, then I found this Feed Me template at The Container Store. I've used it for the past year, and it was a great place to start. After using it for a while I knew there were certain things I liked, and some that I did not.

I created my own template. It hangs on the message center in the entrance to my kitchen.

Of course I had to 'cute' it up a little.

This picture is a little blurry, but here is what it looks like all filled out. I don't like feeling tied down to cook certain things on specific days, so I just made spaces for four Meal spots with room for a main dish and sides. The lines are long enough to write the name of the meal and the name of the cookbook and corresponding page number. I have a section for breakfasts/desserts, and another section for things we run out of during the week. I do not have a spot for grocery list, the Feed Me template had one. I use an iPhone app (Grocery Zen) to keep my grocery list. Plus, it's a bit risky to take your whole menu planner to the grocery store. If you lose it you're stuck with a bunch of groceries and no direction.

There's nothing magical about my menu planning form, but it works for me. If you'd like a blank copy, just send me an email at I'd love to hear your menu planning tips and advice. Comment below!