So, when you read I'd be doing a short series on Menu Planning maybe you thought that was a really silly idea. Or maybe you were wondering what in the world I was talking about! Who knows, you could be one of those people (like me) who is all about planning things (you know, the ones with obsessive lists and planners that are all highlighted--don't judge).
No matter your response, you may just be wondering why there is a need for menu planning. Here's my short and honest answer:
It makes life simpler.
and that's what we're all about here!
Want more specifics?
- Menu planning limits your amount of work. Sounds a little counter-intuitive right? I mean, it does seemingly give you more to do. That however, is a myth. While planning for a week or two of meals at a time does take a little bit of work, it often alleviates a lot of the work at meal time because you are completely prepared for what's coming. No more (or very few) last minute trips to the grocery store for something your forgot, or not knowing what you're going to make which can cause chaos in your home. Simply put--a little more work in the beginning produces less work on the other end.
- Menu planning simplifies meal time. Meal times, especially dinner, can be extremely hectic! Trying to get something decently healthy for your family to eat while juggling everything else on your plate is not always easy. That's where menu planning can help. No more guessing about what you're going to have for dinner--you've already planned it days or even weeks in advance. You know what you'll serve and even what it'll take to prepare it so you aren't stuck at 5:00 trying to make a decision or rushing because you didn't have adequate time to prepare. When you know what you're going to serve, you can prepare your mind (not to mention your taste buds) for the work that is coming. You know how early you need to put in that casserole that needs to bake for an hour. So really, having a plan is simply more helpful.
- Menu planning saves you money. If you were only half reading what the other two points were about, I bet your fully into this post now! We all want to save our money. Who wants to spend all of their money on consumable things, like food? (My pet peeve is gasoline...I just hate spending money on it, but it must be done). Probably no one! So, how does the fairly simple task of planning your meals save you money? There are a few ways I can think of. (1) Remember those last minute grocery store trips we talked about earlier? You won't have as many of those! If you're like me, you go into the store to get that one thing you are forgot...your eye catches something else (because its dinner time and you're hungry)...you end up coming out of the store with more than you intended to buy! You spent more than you planned! While that seems like a tiny bit of extra that you spent, if you do this once a week it can really add up. By planning your meals, you know in advance what you need and can do a large grocery shopping trip to get all of those items (we'll talk more about the grocery shopping later). (2) It's 5:15, your hubby will be home in 15 minutes and the kids have soccer practice in 45. No clue what to make for dinner so what do you do? Call the hubby and tell him to meet you at your favorite, fairly quick, restaurant. For our family (of 3) to eat out and have a decent meal, we will usually spend $15-$20. Doesn't sound like much, but if you do that even just three times a month it is almost $60 of your budget spent on food--and maybe not even good food at that! Eating at home is much a cheaper and healthier option for your family. Planning your meals can keep you from those last minute trips through the drive-thru because you already know what you're having for dinner and you could even get a head start on it if you know you have a busy evening ahead.
There you have it!
Some of the reasons I started menu planning.
Are you ready to go? Ready to get started?
Well, pull out your recipe book--or your recipe board on Pinterest! Next week I'll share with you my favorite tools for menu planning (and they're all FREE)...then we'll delve into the in's and out's of HOW to menu plan effectively.