Something I used to do on a regular basis not too long ago. Life was disrupted and some how I have ended up with a pantry and freezer full of food. Not complaining at all but now as part getting back into routines and such and making wise use of the food we have I need to start menu planning again.
The main reason is so that I can keep track of how much of various items we have. How much we are using of said items and when to time stocking up. I am moving towards once a month shopping so I really need to track these things.
Menu planning is also cost effective. It doesn’t have to be written in stone, I am totally into flexibility simply because things happen. However, if you have a good idea of your weekly schedule, appointments, activities, etc you can easily plan what food things you will need. This works well for weekly, bi-weekly and monthly cooking/shopping.
A few good tips for helping with menu planning:
- Start off weekly
- Keep a running list of basic must have items that you and your family use daily.
- Start a pantry/freezer/refrigerator list
- Pick one evening and use it as your planning night, remember to ask for family input
- Plan your meals first based on what you already have on hand
- If you are making a specific recipe make sure you add those ingredients to your shopping list
- Don’t be afraid to substitute items in recipes for less expensive options, recipes are after all just guidelines.
- Plan your menu around your family’s schedule.
- Just like going grocery shopping, I don’t recommend menu planning on an empty stomach.