Menu Planning Top 10

top 10 meal planning ideas

The most dreaded question by moms all over the place is “What’s for dinner?”  Figuring out the answer everyday is a tough job, but someone has to do it.  That’s why I came up with this Menu Planning Top 10 list to help you meet that challenge.

  1. Designate one night a week “Kitchen Sink” night.  Create a buffet out of all the leftovers in the fridge so nothing goes to waste.  Friday or Saturday are great nights for this.
  2. Plan around perishable items in your fridge.  Use lettuce, spinach, mushrooms etc. early in the week and save the canned and frozen veggies for later.
  3. Make it meatless.  Black beans are in high-protein and inexpensive.  Use them instead of meat once a week.  Try this healthy recipe.
  4. Keep frozen ravioli on hand for a quick lasagna.  Just layer with spinach, sauce and bake.
  5. Plan a weekly sandwich night.  If you do it on a night that your kids have practice you’ll also be saving some time.
  6. Pancakes and waffles freeze well.  Make an extra batch Saturday morning, then defrost throughout the week.
  7. Line pans with foil before baking to make clean up that much easier.
  8. Make your own snack mix or granola on the weekend and then pre-portion into snack size containers for grab and go use during the week.
  9. Use your leftover roasted chicken to make chicken salad later in the week.
  10. Make it visual. Before you grocery shop, plan your menus for the week and make your shopping list from your meal plan.  You will be more organized, spend less money and waste less food

I know I said top ten but here are some bonus tips for you!

  1. Look at your family’s calendar for the week. If you have soccer practice at 5:00 on Tuesday, don’t attempt to make chicken pot pie! This should be a quick and easy meal night.
  2. Don’t be tempted by the drive-thru.  Buy a roasted chicken and a pre-made salad at your grocery store.  Slice the breast and place over the salad for a quick, nutritious and filling meal.
  3. Make a big pot of soup or chili and then freeze in individual size freezer bags for those nights when everyone is going in different directions.
  4. Always include at least one meal you’ve made before.
  5. Use an app to house all your recipes.

Use this menu planning worksheet to help keep you organized.  If you have some great menu planning tips, please share.  I would love to hear them.

Comments: 2

  1. Ms. Adams August 22, 2012 at 9:31 am Reply

    We save time by eating the same breakfast every morning. That way when we go to the store I always know that we need oatmeal and enough bananas for the both of us.

  2. hilljean August 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm Reply

    These are great ideas! I particularly like the idea of using raviolis for lasagna! Never thought of that one before 🙂

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