Menu Plan Monday - How To

{The Look of the Process}

I love anything that saves me time, and keeps me organized, so meal planning is not only something I do to stay sane, but I also REALLY enjoy it!  I have been meal planning for probably 3 1/2 years.  I am very Type-A so I I have my own way of doing it, which I obviously think is the best, but there are tons of ways to plan out your meals and grocery lists.

 {I use cookbooks, my recipe binder, my planner, computer, and meal planning page}

Here is the breakdown of what I do.

First I should start by saying I use a bi-weekly schedule (So I only plan and shop 2xs a month).  I feel this not only saves time, but also money at the grocery store. 

I have seen so many meal planning sheets, some I do like, some not so much.  I have created my own, and although it is nothing fancy I like it.  I am not a fan of having my grocery list on the same paper as my planned out meals, so that is why most I have found don't work for me.

I then look to my planner....and write in what we have scheduled to make it easier to decide the appropriate meal for that day.  MWF are Preschool Days, so I know I have to have a quick and easy lunch once getting home.  There are a lot of nights where my husband is very late getting home from work so it is just me and the kids, usually those nights I like to keep dinner simple.
 {I LOVE my life planner from Erin Condren}

Then I start filling in meals.  Some tips:

1. I love trying new recipes, but it can get overwhelming especially when you are busy, so I try to keep it fresh and try at least 1-2 new recipes per meal plan, but never more.  I find if I try more, they don't get made, and we end up going out on those nights, or ordering in.

2.  Look at your plan as more of an outline.  I love making a very detailed plan (including breakfast, lunch, snacks, and any desserts I want to make) so I am sure I don't have to make a grocery store run in the middle of the 2 weeks.  However, I usually don't stick to it completely.  I know once shopping, all the ingredients are in the house for those meals, so I normally end up switching up the days.  Some days I feel like spending more time in the kitchen, other days not so much.

After my meal plan is completely filled out, I then start making my list.  I don't use a generated list (I have thought about making my own, but it seems so intimidating to me for some reason)  I start with a blank sheet of paper and make my list according to the layout of the store.  I usually only shop at 2 stores (Costco being one, for bulk items), but sometimes 3.

{I normally type in the dates I am using, the PDF is a blank version}

After the list is complete, I look through what coupons I have and highlight the item before placing the coupon in an envelop.

And then I am finished!  I have thought about making a menu board, but it is a project I have not tackled yet....hopefully soon. For now I just tape up a copy of the meal plan to my refrigerator so I know what needs prepared ahead.  Another copy goes into my Family Management Binder.


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