Organizing: Menu Planning


Hello everyone!  I am back to do another post about organizing. If you missed the last one on keeping a clean house click here. Today I am going to tell you how I stay on top of cooking meals in my house.

 If you have never done a menu for your meals, you are missing out. Making a menu of your weeks/months dinners can make all the difference on having  a nice meal on the table every night. I used to make a list of some meals, make a grocery list and go shopping. This works fine but I have found a much more organized way.

First make a master list of all the dinners that you make on a regular basis. I categorized mine in styles of food (American, Italian, Mexican, etc.) I typed them up in excel and left room at the bottom so that if I tried a new recipe that I liked, I could write it in. I call this my  Meals & Categories List.

After you create your own Meals & Categories List, you have two options. I have a weekly menu and a monthly menu. The weekly menu is nice if you go shopping frequently. The chart has Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, and Dinner categories. You fill in what you want (using your meals & categories list) M-F and at the bottom of your chart you can write down what you need to get from the store for the meals you are having that week. I think this method is great if you have young children and are in need of ideas for lunches and snacks. I found that my kids ate an abnormal amount of chicken nuggets and hot dogs… poor kids. This chart really helped with that. Here is my Weekly Menu Chart.

The monthly menu is my personal favorite! I got this idea from a woman’s conference in Yakima and things have never been the same.  The monthly Menu works by:

  1.  labeling each day of the week with a category. For example you might choose casseroles, or Mexican, or meals with chicken, etc.
  2. Plug in 4-5 meals under each day. ( refer to your meals & categories list)
  3. Plug in bread, fruits and veggies for each day that you would like to have that, or you could just have a category for sides.

Here is the Monthly Menu that I created for my family.

Planning out your meals and rotating them will make meal time more manageable by:

  • Reducing time spent last minute shopping trips.
  • Avoiding the question “what do you feel like having tonight?”
  • Meals are more systematic and routine. This includes food storage as well. With the Monthly Menu, If you make spaghetti 12 times a year, you need 12 packages of spaghetti for a years supply…
  • Your Kids and Spouse will LOVE you!

I hope you enjoy the benefits of having planned ahead. Dinners will never be the same!

Meals & Categories List

Weekly Menu Chart

Monthly Menu

How would you like your own form you can type into and print out?  Announcing the My Monthly Meal Plan FREE Download!! Here is what it looks like:

 Click here to get your FREE Download of “My Monthly Meal Plan” .

**Coming up next in the Organizing series:  Keeping track of your savings & spending !!23 Comments

Organizing: Menu Planning was last modified: August 27th, 2011 by Ashleigh

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  1. Jennifer Speer says:

    wow – THANK YOU!!! I have tried so many time to come up with lists, and all of this and now you have really added to mine. My husband is going to love you!! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

  2. I love the organizing section of F.O.C. It’s nice to see what new ideas you can use. Thanks

  3. This is awesome!!! This meal help with meal planning and now how mush to stock up on. Love it! Thank you 🙂

  4. This is EXACTLY what I needed, it’s so hard to figure out what’s for dinner most nights. I’d love getting some of your recipes that you have listed on your menu if you wouldn’t mind posting some of them. 🙂

  5. I love your explanation of meal planning. We started meal planning about 6 months ago and started doing monthly meal plans about 2 months ago. I can’t agree more…I love it! We do something similar: 3 course meal, Casseroles, Breakfast for dinner, Soups, Friday Nite Pizza night, Tex-Mex Saturday, Sunday Crock Pot meals. It works wonders! Especially when eating from your pantry.

  6. Thanks so much! This information is great and I appreciate that you took the time to share it.

  7. FANTASTIC!! Love it! Do you happen to have a blank Monthly plan? I am linking back to you for my readers as well – excellent post!!

  8. Thanks Ash. I love it. LOVE it! It simplifies my life and it took me a whole 10 minutes to plan my meals for the next 2 weeks! It feels good sis. You are surprising me. I didn’t know you had it in you. Way to go.

  9. LOVE the new form!!! Great job! THANKS
    .-= lynn @ MavenofSavin´s last blog ..Orbit Gum $1 off printable and more… =-.

  10. This is awesome!!! I’ve tried to come up with lists and monthly menus so many times. I love your Monthly Meal Plan format!!!

  11. This is fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing-I’ve already planned out my meals for the rest of the month! Whooo-hoooo!

    Have a great weekend! Love your blog!

  12. However, if you are trying to save money, plan your menu each week according to sale items from your weekly paper. Make a game out of it and don’t purchase anything that isn’t on sale.

  13. can i just say you are my life saver i wish i had found you 2 years ago when i had my daughter but glad i found you now!!! you have put to paper what i have been trying to do since being a momma your ideas are what i have been trying to do with my house work down to my cooking (we even like the same meals lol) its like you have been living in my head and are taking what im thinking and making the spreadsheets which i suck at THANK YOU SO MUCH for my sanity!!!

  14. Thank you, this is very helpful! I am mom of three, and i have full-time job – always trying to catch up…

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