Do those words fill you with dread? What about when it’s 5 o’clock and you still have no idea what the answer is as you’re standing in front of the refrigerator just hoping something will assemble itself and jump out at you? Now do you feel stressed out?
At this point, many of us would feel tempted to pick up a phone and order in. Or tell the kids to hop in the car for a “treat”. These choices will cost LOTS more money and give you much less nutrition, and much more chemicals and fat. Which you know you don’t want to do.
3 Reasons to Make a Menu Plan
1. Save Your Brain
I don’t know about you, but my brain is……hibernating. It started with my first pregnancy. You know: Pregnancy Brain. And then it was New Mommy Brain. And then it was Living With Little Children Brain, then more Pregnancy Brain, and so on. So while I used to consider myself an intelligent, thinking person, that person has been sliiiiippppiiing away, and I want to conserve whatever intelligence I have left so that I might be able to write coherent blog posts. In other words, the fewer decisions I must make on a daily basis, the better! It’s much easier to decide in one sitting what we will be having for dinner each night than to have to do it every day. And in doing so, I can plan to actually have the ingredients when I go to make the meal. Who would’ve thunk it?
2. Save Your Money
We’d all like to save money and use it for more important things. When you eat out, you spend MUCH more money than you do when you eat home. When you buy last minute items at the corner convenience store, you also spend much more money than you would for those same items at the supermarket, if you’d known you would want them. And when you buy random things at the grocery store, things spoil because you don’t have a plan to use them. What a waste!
3. Eat More Healthfully
When you make your own food at home, you are (hopefully) not going to fill it with MSG and other poisonous preservatives. You can be sure that convenience foods are toxic to your bodies, and with a little bit of planning, you can avoid these and know you are helping your family to be healthier. And it’s really easy!
So Here’s What You Need To Do.
- Pick an amount of time you’d like to plan. I usually do 1 or 2 weeks at a time, but if you’re new to this and it seems too much, try 3 days.
- Write down a dinner meal for each of the days you are planning for. Dinner is the most important meal to plan, so focus on that meal first. Remember to include side dishes.
- On your shopping list, write down each of the ingredients you’ll need to make your meal. $5dinner.com has some nice printable planning sheets for menus and grocery lists.
- Go shopping and save money because you’re not buying things you don’t need or won’t use.
It really is that simple.
And if you really don’t want to do all of this, you can go to SavingDinner.com and buy their menus, complete with grocery lists. They’re very inexpensive and will still save you lots of time and money.
What’s For Dinner is the theme of Day 27 of the Flylady’s babysteps. I’m so glad I’ve made this a habit because it’s really helped me. I even aspire to plan a whole month at a time and get into more freezer cooking….but I’m not there yet. One step at a time!
I usually post my weekly menu on Mondays. Doing this has helped me be accountable for getting it done. I love linking up to others’ menus; if you post one, let me know!
Do you menu plan? Why or why not? How long? I want to know what works for you.