I finally found a meal plan that work for me. Gone are the days of menu-planning for hours every Sunday. Gone are the days of being “too tired” to make dinner and resorting to chicken nuggets. Gone are the days of forgetting one important item at the store. Just kidding, that still happens.
About three months ago, I made a four-week menu plan for our suppers. I pulled out a calendar and wrote in 28 days worth of meals, the accompanying shopping list, and a list of side dishes. I did not lay out full meals, just the main item, to allow for more variety. Using the meal plan is simple: start at Week One, then at the end of the Week Four start all over again.
Here are a few “rules” I followed in making my menu:
- Meals had to be something at least 80% of us like.
- There had to be space on the menu to try new recipes.
- One night had to be specifically tailored for my husband to make dinner.
- Leftovers are on nights that I am most tired (Thursday and Sunday).
- Weeknight suppers had to take 30-45 minutes to make.
- Minimal repeats.
- One night a month to eat out at a restaurant.
After drafting the first menu, I showed it to my husband and we made a few minor adjustments, and I also moved some menu items to better accommodate leftovers. I’ve been using the menu for three months now, and I only made one other small change to one a week that had two rather redundant meals.
Does it get boring?
I thought it would get boring, but it doesn’t. For example, one meal is simply soup, but I decide what kind of soup. Eggs are on the menu twice each month, and eggs can be made in so many ways. The side dishes also bring quite a bit of variety to the main menu item.
What if I buy all the ingredients and then miss a meal (activities, dinner with family, etc)?
The meal can be skipped entirely, ingredients frozen, or the meal can be prepared on the next most logical day by eliminating a leftover night or a meal with less time sensitive ingredients.
Is it flexible?
Of course. I do not always make the meals in the exact order they appear on the menu, and sometimes I substitute in a completely different meal or rearrange a leftover night.
Is it economical?
Our grocery bills have gone down since implementing the four week menu plan. Since the grocery list is also laid out by week, I can buy items I know I will need when they are on sale and either store them or freeze them.
I wouldn’t leave you hanging without some printables to get you started on your meal planning journey.
|Week 1||Pizza||Chicken||Soup||Leftovers||Grilled Cheese Sandwiches||Beans and Sausage||Leftovers|
|Week 2||BBQ’s||Beef or Pork Roast||Hotdish||Leftovers||Eggs||Burritos||Leftovers|
|Week 3||Tacos/ Nachos||Alfredo||Something New Or Crockpot||Restaurant||French Toast or Pancakes||Pizza||Leftovers|
|Week 4||Spaghetti/ Lasagna||Hamburger||Sausage||Leftovers||Eggs||Chili||Leftovers|
If you decide to do this, I would love to see your finalized menus to put together another post with Four Week Menu Ideas, especially summer menus, since I will have to redo the whole menu when winter ends. 🙂