Knowing how to menu plan for the week is an essential home management skill for moms. It will save you time and money while helping you eat healthier and reduce food waste.
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Menu planning is one of the most effective ways to save time, money and reduce food waste while making healthier choices. It can seem daunting at first, but with a little preparation and organization, anyone can create a weekly meal plan that fits their needs and goals.
How to menu plan for the week
In this blog post, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide to menu planning for the week, including tips on how to create a master list of recipes, organize your shopping list, and even prep ahead of time. By the end of this post, you’ll have all the tools you need to make menu planning an easy and enjoyable part of your routine.
Create a Weekly Schedule First
The first step in successful menu planning is creating a weekly schedule. Your schedule will let you know which nights you will be home, how much time you have to cook on which days, and who will be home for dinner. Look for things that are out of the ordinary in your schedule that you will need to plan your meals around. It is best to create both your schedule and your menu plan during your regular weekly planning time.
Assess Your Meal Needs and Goals
The next step in menu planning is assessing your needs and goals. This includes determining how many meals you will need to prepare in a week, which can vary depending on your schedule and lifestyle. For example, if you work long hours during the week, you may only need to plan for dinners, while someone who works from home may need to plan for breakfasts and lunches as well.
It’s also important to consider any dietary restrictions or preferences that you have, such as vegetarianism or gluten intolerance. By taking these factors into account, you’ll be able to create a meal plan that suits your individual needs.
Kitchen Art from Etsy
Create a Master List of Recipes
Once you have assessed your menu needs and goals, the next step is to create a master list of recipes for your meal plan. This should include your favorite meals, as well as those that can be made ahead of time or frozen for later use.
Where to find recipes for Your Menu Plan
To compile this list, consider looking through cookbooks or online recipe websites and bookmarking or printing out recipes that you want to try. You might also want to consider asking friends or family members for their favorite recipes.
Some of my favorite websites for recipes are:
- The Wooden Spoon Effect
- Walking on Sunshine Recipes
- Crystal and Comp.
- 3 Boys and a Dog
- Plant Based Instant Pot
What kinds of recipes should be included in a weekly menu plan?
As you create your list, think about:
- Variety to keep things interesting
- Nutrition – including a mix of proteins, vegetables, and grains
- Budget – consider meatless meals or meals with few ingredients
- Preparation Time – consider meals that can be made ahead and frozen
- Your Pantry – what items to do you already have on hand to make meals
By having a master list of go-to recipes, you’ll save time in the long run and always have delicious options at your fingertips.
Create a Shopping List
Once you have planned your meals for the week, it’s time to make your shopping list. Make sure to check your pantry for ingredients you already have so you do not purchase them again.
Organize Your Shopping List
Once you have your meal plan and list of recipes in place, it’s time to organize your shopping list. A well-organized shopping list can save you time and money at the grocery store, as well as help you stick to your meal plan.
One approach is to group items by category, such as produce, dairy, meat, and pantry staples. This makes it easier to navigate the store and ensure that you don’t forget anything on your list. You might also want to consider organizing your list based on the layout of your grocery store for even more efficiency.
Another tip is to include quantities next to each item on your list so that you know exactly how much of each ingredient you need. By taking a little extra time to organize your shopping list, you’ll make the grocery shopping experience smoother and more enjoyable.
Consider Grocery Pick Up or Delivery
If you really want to save time and money, consider using a grocery pick up or delivery service like:
Grocery pick up prevents impulse buying by keeping you out of the stores, and delivery saves you even more time and money by letting you stay at home while someone else does your shopping.
Meal Prep Ahead as Much as Possible
Prepping ahead of time is a key ingredient to successful meal planning. Take advantage of free time during the week to prep ingredients or even full meals ahead of time. This might mean chopping vegetables, marinating meat, or cooking a big batch of rice or quinoa.
By taking care of some of the prep work in advance, you’ll save time and energy during the busy weeknights when you’re trying to get dinner on the table. You might also want to consider preparing some full meals ahead of time that can be reheated throughout the week, such as soups, stews, or casseroles.
Not only does this save time, but it can also help reduce food waste by ensuring that you use up ingredients before they go bad. With a little bit of planning and preparation, meal planning can become an easy and enjoyable part of your weekly routine.
What ingredients can I prep ahead?
There are lots of ingredients and even whole meals that can be prepped for the week ahead, such as:
Menu planning is a valuable tool that can save you time and money while also promoting healthier eating habits. But the benefits extend beyond just these practical considerations.
Menu planning can also reduce stress around mealtime, promote creativity in the kitchen, and even help strengthen relationships by involving family members in the process.
To stay motivated and consistent with menu planning, try to make it a fun and engaging activity rather than a chore. This might mean trying new recipes, experimenting with different cuisines, or involving others in the decision-making process. Additionally, don’t be afraid to adjust your plan as needed based on changing schedules or preferences.
With a little bit of effort and flexibility, meal planning can become an enjoyable and rewarding part of your weekly routine.