Menu Planning

If you have ever scoured the Internet for ways to reduce your spending at the grocery store, then you have read how important it is to make a menu each week or month.  Doing so helps to focus your grocery shopping list so that you are not impulse shopping down the grocery aisles, making multiple trips per week to the grocery store or eating out because you do not know what to cook for dinner.

Once upon a time, a.k.a. two kids ago, I used to create a monthly dinner menu.  It was so nice to know what I had in mind for dinner each night, and I rarely found myself frantically scouring for ideas at 5:00pm because I already had a plan for dinner!  So, it has been almost 18 months since I made my monthly dinner menu, but after adding a fourth child to the mix and Ryan's new job which requires more of his time, I have decided that this is one arena that requires my attention if I want my family to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.  I also decided that I needed to plan breakfast and lunch to ensure that I had enough ingredients on-hand for each week or that if I needed Ryan's help in the kitchen, he could just reference the menu instead of having to hunt me down.

When you're planning your menu, remember that we all have different schedules and lives.  Some of you have to be out of the house early Monday through Friday and unless you all want to wake up at 5:00AM, you are not going to make big meals each morning and get out the door on time.  I have a few mornings each week that I need my breakfasts to be fast and clean because my kids will be eating dressed, and I do not want to be washing syrup or yogurt out of my kids' hair :)  In our household, we also have an entertainment budget, so it would not be unheard of for us to grab Taco Bell or McDonald's two or three times a month when we are out of the house at a meal time.

With that said, I figure one of the easiest ways I can force myself into submission is to make it public, so that I know other moms are watching and holding me accountable.  Check-out all of my past weekly menus for inspiration and links to our favorite recipes!