The Not So Perfect Housewife way of planning out your menus.
I’ve been a SAHM mom for over 18 years now. And over those 18 years, I’ve tried TONS of different Menu Planning ideas.
I my opinion, making and using a menu for your family meals is just like budgeting, schooling, and other areas of our lives, there’s not ONE sure fire way of doing it.
So I’m just going to share with you one of the ways I TRIED to do it and then share the one way that seems to work for my family.
I didn’t really start to “menu plan” until my girls were toddlers. Up to that point I was just feeding two adults large pieces of food and two small people real food out of a jar. So it wasn’t all that hard to just go to the store, buy some meat, vegetables, pasta, and baby food jars.
But as my girls started to eat regular large pieced food, I realized it was getting harder to put together meals that were healthy and inexpensive. I had noticed REAL early on that grocery shopping without a list or plan (and with my husband,LOL) was draining our bank account.
Once a Month Cooking
A friend of mine had told me how she was learning and trying out the Once a Month menu planning. This is where you plan out your meals for the whole month, go grocery shopping for ALL the ingredients, and spend one whole day preparing and cooking all the meals. Once your done, you put them all in the freezer and go out to dinner for the night. For the rest of the month all your meals are planned and all ready for you.
I tried this for about two months.
· It was nice not having to run to the grocery store every week, beyond little odds and ends.
· Every night I had everything that was needed for dinner
· My freezer was stocked and I could share a meal with someone if the need came up
· I felt somewhat stuck with the food we had – if I was in the mood for something different and it wasn’t planned for that month, I felt guilty not using the food
· I was limited on my recipes due to storage limits
· My husband did NOT like have one pot meals and or freezer dishes all the time
After two months, my husband requested I try something else. He too enjoyed having the house filled with food, but really didn’t like the taste of most of the ‘pre-prepared’ food.
Weekly Menu Planning
This is the one that works for my family and I’ve been using it for years. I’ve tried all different kinds of ways on how to organize my planning, but the basic planning hasn’t changed.
· Allows me to experiment with different recipes
· Shopping and planning according to store sales saves me TONS of money
· Everything is on hand
· Can’t think of any right now
My Method of Weekly Menu Planning
· Gather sale flyers of area stores – I mostly do this online
· Looking at the store sales, I can grab my blank calendar, and start writing in meals for the week.
· I’ll gather my favorite cookbooks and other materials for recipe ideas based on the items that are on sale that week.
*Side note here – I get quite a few magazines, like Taste of Home and Woman’s Day. When I find a recipe in these magazines I like, I’ll put a sticky note on the page so I can refer to it when making my menu plan.
· I then match store sales with coupons and print out all the coupons
· Once my menu is planned for the week ( I plan from Monday to Monday since I usually shop on Tuesday), I grab my grocery list and highlighters and start marking what I need.
*This helps me on those days when I’m visiting more than one store and I need to remember which store had the best deal.
*I don’t always go to more than one store. Sometimes the sales aren’t always that great and I end up just going to our local Super Wal-mart for everything.
And that’s about it. It’s not Perfect, but it works for us.
There are days when I realize that I didn’t buy everything I needed, and days that we’re not in the mood for what was planned, and that’s ok.
Being flexible is the way these things work the best. Having a plan is nice, but also giving yourself and break and not stressing over it is even better.
So what works for you?
I’m always open for new ideas and organizing tips..feel free to leave me a comment and share.