menu planning 101

Menu Planning 101

Originally posted February 24, 2015.

How often do you find yourself wondering what’s for dinner? If you answered “every night,” you’re certainly not alone. Menu planning seems like the obvious answer to this dinner dilemma but getting started can be tricky. Just a little bit of menu planning can go a long way by not only helping you save time and money but also by helping to reduce your stress level! We checked in with a few experts for a little menu planning encouragement. First, check out this video where Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, explains how SCALES can help take the hassle out of deciding what’s for dinner.

Now that you’ve mastered SCALES, it’s time to get started! Just kidding, we know things don’t happen that fast. Luckily for all of us, Melanie Bauer from Melanie Makes has an entire collection of Menu Plan Monday posts with plans we can borrow from – and BONUS, her every day recipes are delicious and crowd-pleasing. Melanie was kind enough to share with us a few of her tips and tricks for menu planning:

  • Select one day/night a week to plan your meals. Get out your calendar and take note of what activities you have going on which days so that you know when quick and easy meals are called for you or you might have some extra time to cook something a little more time sensitive.
  • Make a grocery list and make it accessible! I use an app called Cozi, which I also installed on my husband’s phone. That means our grocery list – divided by store! – is available to both of us. It also means that he has no excuse to NOT pick up something if needed. 😉
  • Ask your family members for input. I like to ask my three older children and husband to pick one meal a week and try to include it on the menu. If everyone gets a say, everyone will be happy at least one night a week when dinner is on the table.

And, to make it even easier, here are a few of Melanie’s crowd-pleasing favorites.

Are you a menu planner? Share with us what helps get you through the week’s meals in the comments!

Image: “planning” by Various Brennemans is licensed under CC BY 2.0.