Monday, October 4, 2010

5 Reasons I Love Menu Planning (PLUS Tons of Resources For You)

What's all this never ending talk about menu-planning?!? Here's why I do it:

1) It saves time. By sitting down to plan all my meals for the week at one time, I am more time efficient.

2) It saves money. Less last minute trips to the store and the ability to plan my menu around the week's sales shaves LOTS of dollars off of our grocery budget (which is currently $50/week for our family of 3).

3) Having a plan helps the hours between 4-6 pm go more smoothly.

4) We get our veggies in. Actually, our overall menu is healthier when it's planned out. If I don't do a menu plan, I tend to not even buy enough veggies.

5) I spend less time on my actual grocery shopping trip because I know exactly what I'm coming for.

With that said, here are some fabulous menu planning helps for both newbie and seasoned menu planners: 

Monthly Meal Planning from Life As Mom.

Meal Planning For Wimps from Life As Mom.

Meal Planning For Beginners from Life As Mom.

5 Simple Ways to Menu Plan by The Happy Housewife

Menu Planning Resources from Org Junkie. This includes a list of recipe sites, menu planning help sites, and more.

Print-outs: Pick your fav! 

Weekly-Meal-Grid from Life As Mom.

Menu With Grocery List from Life As Mom.

Printable planners for grocery lists, menu planning and more from Erin at $5 Dinners.

Menu Planning Template from Org Junkie (the queen of menu planning herself!).

Some of my favorite menu plan printables are from Organized Home (just found this through a google search!). See her entire page of household notebook printables here. I feel like I just struck gold (you know me and my crazy love of LISTS...)!

So, without further ado, here is our menu for the week:
(P.S. Did I mention that we hardly got to anything on our menu plan last week due to my illness? Yes, and we definitely went over budget due to five million small grocery trips. But you do what you've gotta do!)

Breakfasts: Homemade Yogurt, Granola, Toast with Pluot Jam
Lunches: Leftovers, Salads
Dinners by Weeknight:
Zucchini Parmesan
 Monday--Zucchini Parmesan (made with spicy Italian sausage!) with bread
Tuesday--BBQ Ribs in the Crockpot with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Wednesday--Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry
Thursday--Dinner at home group
Friday--Chili and cornbread
Saturday--Pizza Night, with salads

I would love to hear if any of the above menu planning resources are helpful to you and/or if you have some resources yourself to share with us...

Linked to Menu Plan Monday.


  1. *sigh* A reminder that I don't buy/cook/serve enough vegetables, either. I don't know if you've posted it before and I just haven't noticed, but it was nice to see that your budget is $50/wk/3. I know Susannah isn't eating much yet, but that makes me feel better about my $40/wk/2.5 :) Your menu this week looks delicious! I don't have one planned yet, but thanks for the encouragement and reminders of WHY I need to! Your blog rocks!

  2. I couldn't agree more! Don't you just love it when a plan comes together! (I had the same problems last week with my illness, but that's life!)
    Love Amelie

  3. Dude, you are a genius. Zucchini parm? With Italian sausage????? Um, can we talk?

    You are so right about incorporating those veggies. If I don't plan them, they don't make it onto a plate. We are just not a big veggie family to begin with, but I do encourage my children to try. My husband on the other hand, he's a pasta/steak/tater kind of guy. Simple. (But works in my favor, because then my menus are easy peazy to plan.)

    Now, onto my other comment--this is a GREAT GREAT GREAT post. What an awesome resource for all of us--highly comprehensive.

  4. Great lists! I gave you a blog award this weekend. Feel free to keep and enjoy or pass it on, busy mama that you are.

  5. zucchini parm looks delish! great set of resources too (have bookmarked this post) - thanks!

  6. Miriam, you're doing great to be makin' it on a $40/week budget! Go you! And yeah, I feel you on the veggies. The cool thing is, our family is starting to enjoy them more and helps when we have the veggies "built in" to the meal, like in the Zucchini Parm and the Chicken and Veggie Stir-Fry.

    Amelie, I hope you're feeling better. :D

    Ammie, I'm curious to see how the veggies go over at our house when Squishy gets a bit older. I'm hoping that my hubby and I can set a good example! Although we love some steak and taters, too. :D

    Aiming4Simple: Thanks girl!

    Star*Mora: You're welcome. :)

  7. Stopping by from Orgjunkie, awesome menu and thanks for the links! I am still new to the menu planning thing, and am definalty on a budget!

    Tiffany @ Wyatt Family Farm

  8. We love meal planning at our place -- I agree with all your points!

    That zucchini dish looks delightful right now :)

  9. So many good resources on Menu Planning and the zucchini looks delicious. You should check out We match sale items at your local store to your family's food preference to give you a menu plan and grocery list. Let us know what you think!

  10. Hi, I'm a first time visitor & I'm so glad I stopped by! If I don't plan my menu each week, I end up with a cart full, but nothing to eat!! By planning out my meals I save time & money and I always know the answer to 'what's for dinner'? Thanks so much for sharing all of these great resorurce!

  11. Love menu planning. A lot less stress when I know what's for dinner. The zuc parm looks delish.

  12. Love the food photos. Especially the Zucchini Parmagiana.

  13. You do a great job. Keeping down to $50/week is really good, and I know planning makes it possible. I'm not quite there yet.
    I am totally with you when it comes to planning and veggies. I did find that when my baby started eating, it made me very conscious of what WE are eating!
    I LOVE the links you put up. It's like a compulsive listmaker's dream!

  14. My week is horrible when I don't menu plan!!! I so agree with you reasons for it making life easier and more cost effective.

    The chili and cornbread dinner sounds like a good idea here. I recently made homemade pizza with eggplant parm on it - used up eggplant from the garden and ooh it was yummy!

    Nice menu and now i'm off to visit more of your site. :)


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