Monday, January 28, 2008

Meal/Menu Planning

A new feature I've been using for all sorts of things is google documents. It particularly helps me with the arduous task of weekly menu planning. Menu planning is a must in our household, since we can't just drop everything and go eat out anytime we feel like it (allergies, kids, money, etc.). Even though I spend 1-2 hours every Saturday on menu planning, I have to believe it also saves time and money. It helps me use up what I have on hand and plan for the groceries I need. I never have to stop and think, "what will we have for dinner tonight?" My husband can also access the spreadsheet from work if he's curious.

While I don't plan everything - and sometimes I plan too much - at least I have a road map for the week, knowing that it can change spontaneously.

Here's my approach to menu planning:
(1) Make a list of what you have in the refrigerator/freezer/pantry you want to use up.
(2) Pick out 1-2 new recipes you want to try during the week.
(3) Make a list of the foods your family eats/can eat on a regular basis - dividing into vegetables (we do "starchy and non-starchy" from the Schwarzbein Principle), fruits, meats, and grains.
(4) Try to rotate the meals you eat on about a three-four day basis if possible (we have not been following a strict rotation diet, but I think it's still a good idea).
(5) Fill out a spreadsheet for the week (alternatively, I make one spreadsheet and list several options for a given meal, using the basic meal plan for several weeks. This also allows you to also make an impulse decision with some basic suggestions (i.e. quinoa pancakes or quinoa flakes?). You also don't have to start from scratch every week.
(6) Make your grocery list.
(7) Go shopping.

This is what one of our weekly meal plans looks like.

1 comment:

Sarah Bee said...

You know taking an inventory of what you have in your kitchen is a really good idea. So many times I buy duplicate spices and things and don't know it until I get home.

But, my first priority should lie in trying to de-roach my kitchen!