If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – menu planning saves me HOURS of time every week.
I started menu planning in 2006 when I “met” Laura and her Menu Planning Mondays, and I haven’t looked back since.
Menu planning is how I have enough time during the week for blogging, playing with the kids, going to Spanish, cooking healthy, nutritious meals, etc.
My new job means I have an additional 20-minute commute both ways… and I don’t like to eat late so menu planning has become a foundation for my organised home. I’ve committed both to myself and our nanny that I will always have the entire week’s menu planned out so that she can prepare anything we’ve agreed on. For instance, if I put “chicken a la King, rice and carrots” on the menu, Nanny S knows to cut up carrots and have them ready so I can just cook them.
I’ve always batch cooked so I have a number of meals in the freezer at all times. The key is to keep the freezer inventory up to date so I know when I need to cook a new batch of food.
As an indication, I planned out a full two week’s meals without needing to cook anything new….that kind of pre-cooking won’t work forever but I definitely like at least a week’s worth of meals in the freezer.
Did you know that meal planning works for both structured and unstructured people?
Here’s how you do it:
- For the structured people, simply make your meal plan for weekdays or the full week. Shop for all the groceries and then try to stick to your menu as closely as you can. If you feel like switching things around, there is still the freedom to do so.
- For the unstructured people, make a list of 5 – 7 meals and make sure you have the ingredients for all of those meals. On the day, see what you feel like cooking and do it (then cross off that meal). Do the same thing every day…. or not (it’s your life; don’t feel pressured and definitely don’t feel guilty for not making one of the meals on your list if you no longer feel like doing that one). Benefit – you have a loose plan but you’re not tied down to a specific meal on a specific day.
Do you menu plan?
How does your system work?
PS There’s a menu planner in the free Time Management Purpose Pack.