Monthly Menu Planning – How I Make It Work For Me

Standard

monthly menu planning

I have known for a long time that menu planning is one of the most important things I can do to help me stay sane. In my opinion there is nothing worse than trying to decide at 5 p.m. what to cook for supper.  You know, when the kids are whining, your hubby comes home from work hungry and all you want to do is pull your hair out and hit the closest drive thru.  I’m sure we’ve all been there.  Menu planning is a key component to help me keep the day running smoothly.

On the flip side, I also like some “wiggle room”. I like to be spontaneous at times. Sometimes I want the freedom to cook whatever it is that I’m craving. Sometimes I find a really good deal on chicken at the grocery store and need to cook it right away.

What’s a girl to do?

I tried weekly menu planning. I tried really hard. But the days seem so short when I do that and it seemed like I was always planning my menu. Then I would forget that I needed to make another plan and a day would slip by with no plan. Or two. Or a week.

Ahem.  Let’s just say that it didn’t work for me.

So I went about trying to figure out what would work for me.  And what I finally came up with was a modified version of monthly menu planning.

Since I wanted it to be flexible I decided to leave one day a week free (Thursdays) because I generally go grocery shopping on Wednesday or Thursday.  Then if I find a great deal on pork/beef/chicken/whatever I can cook whatever I want without “messing up” my menu plan.  {I am under the misconception that because it’s written down that means it is set in stone.} Having a free day also helps if I have leftovers that need to be eaten or we decide to go out to eat one night (it is very seldom, but it does happen).  And if I don’t find a good sale or we don’t have leftovers I know I always have something in the freezer or pantry that I can throw together for a quick meal.  Breakfast for supper, anyone?

Sorry, I have to get off on a side rant here.  I’m sure there is some chemical or psychological imbalance in me that demands a calendar to be perfect at all times.  I detest marking things out or not completing an item.  A missed appointment haunts me all month.  A changed menu item bugs me for days.  Does anyone else feel this way? No?  Well, ok then.  Carry on.

Anyway, my point is that for too long I used this as an excuse not to meal plan.  When you don’t want to do something it’s really hard to get motivated enough to do it, no matter how much it may benefit you.

So I changed the way I did things.  Instead of writing down my menu on my calendar I started writing each meal on a small sticky note.

005 hah

Simple solution to a problem that had been plaguing me for months.

I have a monthly menu that can easily be changed to fit my circumstances.  If I decide on Wednesday that I’m not in the mood for baked cod I can just switch it with another meal.  Added bonus:  I don’t have to rewrite them.  When I’ve used that meal I can just take it off the calendar and stick it to the wall to be used again later.  Or stick it directly on the calendar several weeks in advance.  I save paper and time.

At the moment I am just planning for supper meals.  My husband is gone during breakfast and lunch on the weekdays.  The kids and I generally eat the same things for breakfast (although I’m thinking about expanding on that soon).  Lunch is usually either leftovers or something simple.  As the kids get older (read: eat more) this may change again… I might need a dedicated calendar just for menu planning.  But for now, this is working well for me.

And for the record, yes, I have tried to write my menu plan down elsewhere.  I lose it or forget about it.  I check my calendar all the time so that’s the most logical place for me to put it.   And I’m sure some of you are wondering why I don’t just write in pencil.  Good question.  Simple answer is: I don’t like them.  And yes, I know I have issues. 🙂

I hope this helps someone who may be dealing with the same what’s-for-supper woes.  Even if you try this method and it doesn’t work for you, keep trying until you find something that does.  Tweak things here and there and make it your own.  If it works for you that’s all that matters!

This post is linked up at:

   Thriving-Thursdays1   LivingWellraising arrows

Advertisements

9 responses »

  1. When we were home schooling, I stuck to a 14 recipe rotation, which changed seasonally. It really saved me a lot of stress, and only recipes my family really enjoyed were in the rotation. But your system looks great! I never thought of small sticky notes!

    • Thanks for sharing what worked for you! We may end up with something similar when the kids are older and I’m homeschooling two (or more?). I truly enjoy cooking… when I have the time. When I’m stressed or overly busy that’s just one more thing to add to the chaos. Those times you just need something easy that works!

  2. Pingback: Goals for the Week: September 9 – 15 | Happily A Homemaker

  3. Pingback: Weekly Menu ~ January 7 – 13 | Happily A Homemaker

  4. Pingback: Weekly Menu ~ January 14 – 20 | Happily A Homemaker

  5. Pingback: Weekly Menu ~ January 21 – 27 | Happily A Homemaker

  6. Pingback: Weekly Menu ~ January 28 – February 3 | Happily A Homemaker

  7. Pingback: Weekly Menu ~ February 4 – 10 | Happily A Homemaker

  8. Pingback: Weekly Menu ~ February 11 – 17 | Happily A Homemaker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s