Meal Planning is the perfect way to bring the whole family to the table for dinner without stressing you out. It is also a great way to save money at the grocery store.
If you have not tried menu planning then you are missing out. Menu Planning is a simple but effective way to limit the amount of time you spend in the thinking, planning, and shopping for weekly menus and with excellent results.
The main benefits of Menu Planning are that with this prepared list of dinner meals you save money because there is no more grabbing just anything at the store you know what you need for meals and if you're extra prepared you know what is in your pantry (but that is another article).
- You save time because your list is already printed so grocery shopping goes much quicker.
- You save repeat trips to the store to pick up something you forgot.
- No more wracking your brain trying to figure out what is for dinner.
- The food is healthier than eating out or a pre-made meal because you know what is in it.
- Someone else can prepare dinner if you're not able to because the menu and the ingredients are all there!
You can also use menu planning for organizing breakfasts and lunches but since dinner meals seem to be the most problematic to come up with and the most important for bringing a family together at the dinner table they are usually the most focused on.
If you like a bit of variety in your dinner menu the gathering of recipes, pulling it all together, and getting together a shopping list can take a little time especially if you're new to menu planning.
Luckily for us there are several menu planning resources available. You can find weekly menu plans where all of that hard work is done for you. Picking family friendly, healthy, tasty, and yes innovative meals. Mapping out the week's recipes. Creating a grocery list organized by department. Including suggestions for yummy side dishes and sometimes even breakfasts and lunches. You also get tips for even faster cooking, ingredient substitutions, and ideas for desserts.
Where are these great plans?
Below you will find a list of some of the available menu planning sites on the internet that I have tried.
Menu Plan Cookbooks and eBooks
- 40 Real Food Weekly Menu Plan Ideas Packet 10 real food meals for each season in the year equals 40 delicious satisfying meals from nature's bounty.
- Feast in 15: Weekly night dinners that only take 15 minutes. Includes weekly menu plans.
- Simplified Dinners: This little ebook may be all you ever need to create endless yummy dinners for the whole family. There is also gluten/dairy free version.
Menu Planning Cookbooks: Would you rather have complete control over what your family eats each day? Would you rather put together your own weekly meal plan instead of having it show up in your email inbox? I collect cookbooks and find great success putting together my own menus most weeks. Try a meal planning cookbook. Mix and match recipes to your own liking. Have them in the easy to access format of a print book.
The Menu Plan Services
- Menu Planning Central: An all inclusive site with many kinds of menus and recipes to appeal to all the members of your family. With this menu plan you get 9 free ebooks (health, money and time management), 13 weeks of Kid Approved Meals included with your subscription and a free Menu Planner and Shopping list right away just for signing subscribing to the newsletter. If you want to connect with other menu planners this is a good source.
- Allergy Free Menu Planning: A Menu Planning service for those with food allergies. Also includes a Nourishing Foods Menu plan or an option to customize your food plan when you have many allergies.
Meal Planning Software
- If you like collecting your own recipes and are looking for a great way to organizing them then Shop'NCook Menu, is a great choice. For Macintosh and Windows users you can import recipes without editing or formatting, create shopping lists with a click, get nutritional analyses, plan your weekly and monthly meals with shopping lists, create cookbooks, share online, and more! Yes I own a copy and love it. When they stopped upgrading Mastercook to work on Macs I looked around and compared, downloaded and tested. It wasn't cheap but it was worth it. I was a lot of time trying to menu plan my own recipes