You know I like to do things the easy-peasy way. (That's why I call my chore system Easy Peasy Chores!) So you probably think that I have a really efficient, simple menu planning system in place, right? Well… um…. No. Menu planning is a huge weakness of mine. I KNOW that menu planning would save me time and money, but I am not a planner by nature. The idea of pre-planning meals that are frugal, vegan and gluten free is overwhelming to me. Somehow I've decided that it's less overwhelming to just stare at the cupboards every night at 5:00 and wonder, “What should we eat for dinner tonight?”
I know I can do better and I am turning over a new leaf! I don't have the patience to sit down and write a menu plan every week, but I could do it once a month! I've created a nice little download to help myself plan meals in just a few minutes. (And I'm sharing it with you!) Putting all the month's meals on one page helps me to see the bigger picture and then I can use a software program to help me create grocery lists if I want.
How To Access the Menu Planning Printable
I have made a copy of the menu planner printable especially for my readers! If you are already subscribed to my emails, simply click on the link at the bottom of your regular email from me. If you are not already subscribed, click here to subscribe. You will have to confirm the subscription and then you will be taken to a page with the link. After you close that page, you can find the link again by looking in the footer of the emails that you will receive from me.
Below you will find instructions for using the printable. Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom for an important reminder!
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Now here's where the Easy-Peasy part comes in.
For each meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner), I create a schedule. Each day everyone will know exactly what we're having because there will be a schedule that we rotate through weekly. This is exactly the way your high school cafeteria did it, but hopefully the food will be better! Plus we can still change things up a bit by making a different type of casserole or waffle (or whatever) each week. Here's an example of what we might eat for breakfast:
- Sunday = waffles
- Monday = breakfast burritos
- Tuesday = Oatmeal
- Wednesday = vegetable omelet
- Thursday = breakfast casserole
- Friday = cream of brown rice (or another grain) cereal
- Saturday = granola
These are just the main dish for breakfast. We would also eat fresh fruit and nuts with each meal. You can make the same kind of schedule for lunch and dinner, assigning a theme for each day:
- Sunday = Italian
- Monday = Chinese
- Tuesday = Greek
- Wednesday = French
- Thursday = Thai
- Friday = Indian
- Saturday = Mexican
To really change things up from one week to the next you simply serve different dishes from that country. For example, on Italian night you could serve pizza one week and pasta the next.
Another schedule you could create is to serve a certain type of food each day of the week. One example could be:
- Sunday = patties
- Monday = soup
- Tuesday = pasta
- Wednesday = beans
- Thursday = potatoes
- Friday = casserole
- Saturday = haystacks (open-faced taco… so versatile depending on what toppings you serve)
Of course in our house, all of those meals would be served with a big tossed salad and some homemade dressing!
Still too Hard? Here's the REALLY Easy-Peasy Method!
Ok, if that still seems overwhelming, here's an even easier way to plan a month's worth of meals…
Print the worksheet off. Now every night for the next month, write down what you ate for dinner that night. Out of 30 days, you should be able to get at least a week's worth of meal ideas that you'd be proud to re-create. (Maybe two weeks worth or even more!) Then at the end of the month, it will seem like next month's menu already planned itself!
Just click here to grab your copy of the Menu Planning Worksheet!
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Do you have any tips for planning your meals? Please share them with me in the comments!