As far as menu planning goes finding out what works for you and fits in with your lifestyle is very important, in fact it is the most important thing. Because lets face it menu planning is supposed to make you life easier not create another job for you to do.
I like to menu plan because I find that it gives me all the benefits I listed above and it means that we eat healthier as there is nourishing food prepared rather than trying to find something quick to eat because I was not organised.
In our house I only menu plan for dinner and baking and my week runs from Wednesday to Tuesday because I have Wednesdays off and that is when I shop. Do what ever works for you.
I think the most important part of menu planning is actually knowing what you already have on hand. What is in your pantry, freezer, fridge and garden.
Now that you know what food you have on hand what is there than needs using up? What odds and ends are lurking about in your fridge? What do you have lots of? For example multiple tins of creamed corn or tuna, zucchini going great guns in the garden or dozens of eggs.
We are fortunate enough to live on acreage and have raised both chickens and cattle for meat so we have a couple of chest freezers to keep it all in. I keep a list of the meat that is in them attached to the outside so that things do not get forgotten or lost buried in the bottom. As I take things out I cross them off but if you are working from a smaller freezer this may not be necessary.
My main tool for menu planning is the small whiteboard that I have on out fridge in the kitchen. It comes with magnets on the back and you can pick them up from somewhere like Office Works.
I use a permanent marker and rule off a couple of columns on the right and a small section on the bottom left.
The columns are divided into 7 section for the days of the week. In the right hand one I list the meals we are having and in the left hand column I list the tasks that I need to do on that day. At the bottom I record the dates that the animals need worming, flea treatments etc and the large area on the left is where I record the shopping list.
|The entire whiteboard|
One of the things I am doing at the moment is making up meals and freezing them for my brother and sister in law as they are expecting their first baby this week.
|You can see that this weekend when I have the oven on to make muffins|
I will also be using it to make breadcrumbs.
At the bottom I record the dates that the animals need worming, flea treatments etc and the large area on the left is where I record the shopping list.
|All the treatments for the dog and chickens plus changing the cockroach baits|
which sadly in an old house like our are a necessity.
It also gives the other members of the house hold the opportunity to add to the grocery list, regardless of if you actually buy these items, like when my hubby writes orange cordial it "accidentally" gets forgotten.
So this is what works for me, do you think it would work for you?
Do you have your own system? How dies it differ?
What tips do you have for menu planning?