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The Benefits of Menu Planning

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I have been grocery shopping for over 17 years. It’s a weekly chore and for some it is not a favorite task. I however, love grocery shopping. It’s is partly because it is a form of shopping (I’m a bit of a shopaholic), but mainly because the little organizer in me loves the whole process that leads up to the weekly shop.  The benefits of menu planning far outweigh the time it takes to actually menu plan!

The benefits of menu planning

My favorite part is the menu planning. I love sifting through my many cookbooks to plan what mouth-watering meals I will be making for the week. I usually plan for three to four recipes for each week and write out all the ingredients I will need. I check the fridge and cupboards to figure out what we need to buy and what we already have. I then make sure I have the staples in the house. I always have pasta, spaghetti sauce, hamburgers, hot dogs and other kid friendly items. I then check to see what snack foods we have left and write down what we will need for the week.

This process of menu planning is very important to make sure that I have the right amount of food for my 9 month old, favorites for my 2 ½ year old, lunches for my husband and the right amount of food for our dinners. Aside from my enjoyment of menu planning, there are some very important benefits.

1. Planning saves money – If you stick to your list, you will buy only what you need. You can also plan around coupons and store specials to help with a budget.

2. Making Healthy Choices – By planning ahead and listing healthy options it is much easier to avoid the barrage of unhealthy choices you are faced with in the store

3. Efficiency – By doing a bit of prep work before your trip to the store, you can make your shopping experience much more efficient. You spend your time getting what you need, you have a focus and you won’t waste time trying to decide what to get.

4. Avoid multiple visits to the store – By menu planning, you will only need to go to the store once saving time. This also saves money as the opportunities to buy extra items are limited.

All in all, menu planning may seem like work up front but in the end it saves you time and money. It is definitely worth it!

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Tuesday 3rd of January 2012

Hi there. . .

Good ideas here.

I've been married for 33 years now, so have a bit of experience at this thing called home-making. But still have a 15 year old daughter still at home (late in life baby!! And I love her sooooo much!!!)

Anyway....wanted to mention that I rarely "plan" menus for breakfast and lunch as we always have 'on hand' food for those meals--which rarely requires "planning" per se.

Make a list of the foods you like for breakfast: cold or hot cereal, home-prepped oatmeal "packets," leftover pancakes or waffles to pop in the toaster (we make these on the weekend--and make a full recipe--so we DO have leftovers), store-bought poptarts & sausages for Tuesday when we have to be "out -the-door" early a.m., etc. keep these foods on hand.

Lunch is usually scrounging from the leftover stash in the fridge or making a sandwich (ham, turkey, tuna, pbj) or yogurt or cottage cheese and a piece of fruit--easy peasy!!! Keep these things stocked all the time, too.

But supper, I always plan for--I mean, write on a note-pad kept on the fridge door. Take note of any evening activities or day time (out-of-the-house) which might require special modifications to my routine--or "how much time do I have for making dinner".....

And then work two days ahead (by that I mean getting out some meat from the freezer).

Planning can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. Me? I put "chicken" or "beef" on the menu...and then because I'm home all day AND because I know what we like and have most ingredients always on hand.....I decide early in the day what to make for supper.

Also...make one or two days easy for you.....we have pizza EVERY Friday. Most of the time, home-made, but about once a month a frozen/store-bought, and occasionally a fresh one from the local restaurant for a treat.

Hope those ideas help, too!

Hugs from West Virginia....

Deb <

The Allen Family

Tuesday 29th of September 2009

So true! Thanks for the reminder. Maybe this is what I need to get back to doing better at it.