April 26, 2010 by Marci
This week on Overcoming Busy, we will be discussing the ins and outs of planning – why to plan, how to plan, and we’ll be looking at tools that can make planning easy. Since it is Monday and today is the day I usually share my menu plan for the week and some tidbits on why making a menu plan is essential in overcoming busy, we’ll start with menu planning.
Why Menu Plan?
Menu planning is perhaps the most important step in overcoming busy and the stress in your home. Think about it. What is the craziest part of the day in your house? In most homes, it is dinner time. Everyone is home from school and work, they are tired, hungry and often grouchy. On many evenings, the family has only a few minutes to eat before rushing out the door again to practice, games, meetings, etc. Having a plan in place to feed this hungry crew can make all the difference in the world. Growing up, we were involved in lots of sports and other activities, but my mom always had dinner on the table for us before we left. Sometimes it was really early or really late. Sometimes it was lunchmeat sandwiches and chips. But, it was something we could count on and a sort of peace in the midst of chaos (or busyness).
How Do I Menu Plan?
I plan my meals on Sundays. I look at my calendar for the week and decide what kinds of meals I need. Do I need a few quick and easy meals? Do I have time to make a few new recipes? Am I cooking for just my family or are we sharing a meal with friends? Then, I start looking through my recipe sources. I have tried and true recipes stored in my binder and on my computer. I have lots of cookbooks and favorite websites to turn to for new recipes.
Next, is the actual writing down of the recipes. When I do this, I also look at the ingredient lists and write down what I don’t have on a grocery list. There are many ways to do this. I like to write down my meal plan on a magnetic note sheet on the fridge and cross them off as I make them. I have another sheet of paper for the grocery list. However, I do like using an organized planning sheet for this process and use various ones from time to time.
What is your meal planning process like? Do you have set meals for each day or do you just cross meals off your list as you go? I have a friend who has a bunch of notecards with a week’s worth of meals on them. Each week, she just pulls a notecard and there is her meal plan!
Menu Planning Tools
Here are some tools and resources that will help you in the meal planning process. These are some of my faves.
Meal Planning Printables
- Meal planner and grocery list (Project Girl)
- Another meal planning sheet with grocery list plus great meal planning links (BakedBree)
- Lots of menu planners – weekly, bi-weekly, monthly (vertex42.com)
- Printable menu plans pages that go right into your home management binder (organizedhome.com)
- Menu planning pages plus for your home management binder (OrganizingYourWay.com)
My Menu Plan This Week
- Breaded drumsticks, mac n cheese, brussel sprouts
- Brats on the grill, Dads potatoes, slaw
- Ribeyes on the grill, steamed cauliflower, salad
- Something with chicken thighs (don’t know yet, but I got a deal on some thighs!)
- Spanish rice (carry over from last week’s menu), green beans
Need more meal planning inspiration? Head on over to Organizing Junkie where she hosts Meal Plan Monday each week with hundreds of linked meal plans.