I menu plan weekly and have been doing it for years, well before I started O’Boy! Organic. I hated coming home from work and wondering what I was going to make for dinner. Even when single I’d plan out meals and since having a family it’s become a necessity for me. No one wants to hear “What’s for Dinner” and not have an answer. Especially when you have hungry cranky kids. My boys may not always like what’s on the menu but at least they can mentally prepare for what’s going on the table.
Just having an idea of what’s for dinner alleviates stress for me and the kids. Planning meals may not always work out but when it does I avoid nagging children or serving leftovers too often. Here are my top 5 reasons whey you should begin menu planning if you don’t already do so.
5 Reasons Why You Should Begin Menu Planning
SAVES MONEY: I weekly go through my pantry, freezers and fridge to see what foods I currently have on hand then menu plan around those foods. I make a plan, write a shopping list and stick to it. By doing all these things you will save money because you are using foods you already have on hand and by creating a list you don’t go to the grocery store and pick up random items that you don’t need.
ENCOURAGES HEALTHY MEALS: Even if you don’t have a ton of time you can still serve healthy meals for your family. When you don’t have a plan and trying to serve a meal last minute it can lead to not so healthy choices. When you plan you are able to think ahead and determine what days you have more time than others so you don’t try to make a labor intensive meal when you only have 30 minutes.
AVOIDS STRESS: When you walk in the door after a long day the last thing you want to think about is “what’s for dinner”. Taking a little time at the beginning of the week to plan out your meals will avoid stress later on. When you are feeling stressed you might not make the best possible choices and end up buying heavy processed foods as a quick fix because you don’t want to deal with it. Trust me, I’ve done it.
SAVES TIME: If I didn’t menu plan I’d spend so much time throughout the week either shopping more than once a week, thinking of what I am going to cook and then preparing the dinner. One that helps me big time is that I look back at my list and take out meats that need to be defrosted the day before I want to cook them. If you are making a slow cooker meal you can even prepare it the night before and just plug it in the next morning. When you come home, the house smells amazing and dinner is pretty much done.
ENCOURAGES VARIETY: We all get into ruts, heck it happens to me all the time. One way I keep things interesting for me and the family is by serving new types of meals. Even though my youngest could eat Mac & Cheese daily I like to keep it to a minimal even when homemade. By making a menu plan you avoid serving the same meals over and over again. I like to look through cookbooks, online and my favorite Pinterest to give me inspiration.
So have I inspired you to start menu planning? With a little planning ahead and sticking to that grocery list you will save money, avoid stressful nights, save you tons of time, eat healthier and give your family a good variety of new foods weekly. So here is sample of my menu plan that I do weekly for my family. Most of these meals can be prepared in less than 30 minutes and some can even be fully cooked within that time. If you are still looking for inspiration head over to my Menu Plans. On Pinterest? Head over and check out my Family Meals Board for more real food inspiration and become inspired over at Org.Junkie
REAL FOOD MENU PLAN
Monday: Since we all have a day off and a bit more time I am doing a beef roast in the slow cooker and serving it with smashed rosemary potatoes and veggies.
Tuesday: It’s going to be a rainy yucky day which always makes me think of soup. Serving up French Onion Soup and Salad
Wednesday: It’s going to be a busy day for me and the kids so it’s LEFTOVER NIGHT. We will make something using the leftover beef roast.
Thursday: This meal takes no time at all, which is why I love it. Lemon and Garlic Tilapia served with pasta or rice and whatever veggie I have on hand or what’s on sale at the market.
Friday: Keeping it easy with a one pot 30 Sausage and Pepper meal…recipe coming soon!
Saturday: Date Night! We will order in for the kids and the babysitter
Sunday: We have fresh mozzarella and basil leftover from another meal so when I saw Caprese Grilled Filet Mignon I knew I wanted to make something similar with some steaks that I have in the freezer. Serving it with quinoa. I will serve just steak and quinoa for the boys since I don’t think they will dig the mozzarella and tomato.