This is something that I have been wanting to post for awhile since it has been so helpful to me. I (like many people I’m sure….I hope…) get so busy getting other things done and thinking of a million and a half things that by the time supper rolls around, I don’t have anything planned. So many nights have consisted of whipping up something quick simply because I don’t feel like making something or it’s too last minute to thaw out chicken or anything else for that matter! This means many nights of “Lets just do spaghetti…” or “Lets go out to eat instead.” Which means it either starts to get boring making the same ol’ thing or costly by going out to eat more often.
So I finally discovered a routine that really helps me with this problem so I want to share it! I’m sure I am not the only person who does this but I wanted to get it out there anyway! I must admit, this does take a little bit of organization but it really will save you in the end!
I started making these monthly dinner menus a few months ago and my husband and I LOVE it! I think some people may think this is crazy and that’s okay! But for me and my family, it really works! I type up and entire month of meals planned out for each day. Including everything: main dish, sides and vegetables. I do this at the end of each month so then just a few days before the new menu begins I do one big grocery trip. It DOES feel like an expensive trip but I find myself not having to go to the grocery store every other day for certain meal items. I do still make quick trips now and then for fresh fruit, milk…things that just don’t really last a whole month.
Positives to monthly dinner menus:
-You have something planned for each day
-Groceries can all be bought ahead of time
-Be more organized so things don’t go bad (I hate wasting food just because I forgot about it!)
-Having everything written out gives you a visual of what you’re eating so you can be motivated to eat healthier
-Planning meals out ahead of time makes it easier to take the time to try new recipes
When I plan out a menu I take an evening to sit down and pull up all of those amazing looking Pinterest recipes that I have been wanting to try! Whereas, if I am just trying to make dinner plans last minute, chances are I am not going to try something new or even have all of the stuff for it. I also get super frustrated when I have to go to the grocery store a million times because I forgot something for a recipe (okay this still happens, who am I kidding! 😛 ) so planning ahead of time, looking at recipes and making a grocery list for everything really cuts down on this a lot.
Tips for making a monthly dinner menu:
– Leave Saturdays (or whatever day you have open and like to splurge) open for pizza, going out to eat or anything else fun your family likes to do.
– Take leftovers into account. If your family likes leftovers leave days after larger meals open for leftovers. I don’t usually plan for leftover days since it works out really well for my husband to take leftovers to work for lunch.
– Don’t plan huge meals that make lots of leftovers multiple days in a row, spread it out.
– Still plan for quick n’ easy nights like simple pasta or grilling burgers. For example, when I make lasagna I make the sauce homemade and have lots leftovers. So we will freeze serving sizes in ziplock bags to take out and quickly make up spaghetti or a pasta bake another night.
– Add new recipes you’ve been wanting to try to your menu.
– Add a vegetable to your menu for each day. I feel like by having a particular vegetable actually planned makes it way easier for me to have vegetables each night. Otherwise I find myself saying, naaa we don’t really need it! This is extra helpful for me since I want to be setting a good example for our 1 year old!
– Switch things around! There are times when my husband has to work late so we will just switch what we had planned with something simpler from another night. Make sure to still stick with it though or it is easy to fall out of taking the time to make the menu and follow it.
Hopefully this helps some of you the way that it helps me!