Do you plan meals for your family? I know many women that create menu plans for their household – some plan out weekly menu plans, others go as far as to organize a monthly menu plan. They all speak of the benefits of planning meals in advance, which include easier grocery shopping, saving money, and eating healthier.
I have tried in the past to create a weekly dinner menu and used my Google calendar to lay out each day’s meal. When I planned our family’s meals a week or two at a time, I found a few things to be true:
- Grocery shopping was easier and faster. I was able to quickly make a shopping list based on the meals we had planned and could better stick to grocery shopping every two weeks to coincide with pay days. Very rarely did we have to make grocery store runs in the middle of the week, which often times ended up going over budget.
- No more “What’s for dinner?” debates. Not only did I avoid the daily struggle of thinking about dinner, which can sometimes be a point of frustration for many women, but my husband was also informed well ahead of time. He could easily look at the printed calendar on our fridge and know what the menu was for that day.
- Dinner responsibilities became easier to share. My husband can cook just fine and actually cooks certain meats better than I do. But, he’s the first to admit that when it comes to thinking of side dishes to complete the meal, he needs help. Having the dinner menu planned in advance resulted in him initiating the cooking process sometimes because he didn’t have to think about what to make, he already knew.
- We ate better. Not all of our meals were super fresh or healthy, but they were all home-made. Regardless of whether or not we took shortcuts by using pre-packaged foods, we were still able to control what we put into our meals, how much of it, and in the end, this created better meals for us than if we were to order out.
- We saved money. It’s true that just by planning a dinner menu, we were able to control our spending and many times saved on the food budget. There was much less eating out, more buying in bulk, and less grocery store trips. It was easier to keep an eye on the money we spent on food.
As I write this out, I can’t think of why we ever stopped planning our meals. I definitely plan to work on getting back into it and will hopefully start this weekend by creating a dinner menu for next week. The benefits of meal planning are sure to help our household’s balance and peace of mind.
Do you meal plan? If so, share with us in the comments about how you plan your family’s meals. Do you create a weekly dinner menu, two weeks at a time, or a monthly meal plan? How often do you grocery shop? What other benefits not mentioned have you found from meal planning?
More Meal Planning Ideas
- Sample Weekly Dinner Menu (my own dinner ideas that work in our house)
- Menu Planning Basics
- Spring Monthly Menu Plan
- Sample Menu Plan from Frugal Upstate
- Monthly Menus from Once a Month Mom