Menu planning for everyone

Menu planning can save you time and money and keep you from wasting perfectly good food.  There are many types of menu planners and menu planning, the best one is the one that works for you.

Whether you are on a supertight budget and have to go along with the sales, have a fully stocked pantry and freezer and want to avoid staring blindly into the fridge at 5pm hoping something resembling a balanced meal will strike you or you are running all over to games, practices and meetings and are sick and tired of take out (not to mention  broke) we have a plan that you will be able to adapt to your situation.

We'll be highlighting some that have worked for us- at different stages in our lives different plans worked best for us- including winging it, so don't be afraid to play around with different plans and make them your own.

As we can we'll be putting up 4 week plans for each and add the links here, but for now- here are the plans we have used with a 1 week sample menu from each.  If you have other plans that worked well for you, or even that didn't work but you want ideas on how they might work, please feel free to let us know and we'll be happy to see if they are something we might be able to use or help you with.

Theme nights- this is a no brainer for planning out your menu.  If you grew up in the 60's or 70's you probably remember this-  Sundays were meat and potatoes- usually a pot roast or roast chicken that was ready after church, Mondays were spaghetti, Tuesdays were meatloaf... you get the idea.  B.O.R.I.N.G.    But with the vast varieties of foods available and cuisines today there's nothing boring about this method. It's fairy brilliant if you have a hard time coming up with dinner ideas.  All you have to do is come up with 7 different themes (one for each day of the week) and you automatically know what to make for dinner.

Sample 1 week theme night menu plan
Sample 4 week theme night menu plan

No time to cook make ahead menu - this is for you if you have a little time once a week or so to cook and have to throw together something quick during the rest of the week.  It takes a little advanced planning but the rewards are worth it- to your wallet, your taste buds and your health.

Sample 1 week no time to cook make ahead menu 
Sample 4 week no time to cook make ahead menu

Seasonal - this is one of my favorite styles of menu planning-  produce is at its peak and you can eat your favorite foods at the time it is meant to be eaten- heavier stews and roasts in the fall in winter, lighter fare with lots of salads in the spring and summer.

Sample 1 week seasonal menu plan for each of the seasons 
Sample 4 week seasonal menu plan for spring
Sample 4 week seasonal menu plan for summer
Sample 4 week seasonal menu plan for fall
Sample 4 week seasonal menu plan for winter

Limited budget - a very strict budget for groceries usually means you shop the specials and make your menu around  sales, manager's specials and loss leaders.  This is probably my least favorite way to shop because it limits your variety to what's on sale for a certain period of time.  We highly recommend stockpiling when prices are at their lowest so you can vary your menu more but that takes time, room and an extra freezer really helps.

Sample 1 week limited budget menu plan (extremely drastic)
Sample 1 week limited budget menu plan (moderate)
Sample 4 week limited budget menu plan

Weekly Menus

Monthly Menus

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  1. This is so helpful. I'm doing my EC drops but after that I am going to look into the menus. Eileen