The other day I mentioned how vital menu planning is to making cooking more fun. There are so many ways that you can menu plan. Just search ‘menu planning’ on Pinterest and you’ll see what I mean. It is rather overwhelming all the different ideas that pop up and it can make the idea of trying to menu plan daunting. So, what I’m going to do is share with you a few of the ideas that I have tried in the past and what is currently working for me.
Menu Planning Board: I made one of these and I liked it for a short period of time. It’s great for someone who doesn’t plan super crazy ahead. If you do your shopping/menu planning on the sameday and only want to see that week, this is a great idea. This is a less daunting kind of menu planning idea since you aren’t looking so much in the future. You also have all your favorite recipes already written down so all you have to do is pick out what you want and attach it to the clip. Check out The Thinking Closet for how to make one or search Pinterest. (Pinterest search ‘menu planning board’.)
Printable Menu Planning Guides: These come in abundance. There are so many different options you can choose from, from all the other momma’s out there who are trying to make cooking easier. The printable guides generally provide a blank calendar or something like that where you can write in your menu and they also typically provide a blank shopping list. The image to the left shows a monthly or weekly option that I got from Simply Bloom. Or you can check out Mum In The Mad House. She has a list of her top 10 places to get free printable menu plans. (Pinterest search ‘printable menu planning’.)
The Menu Calendar: I’m pretty sure this is where we started. I bought a cheap calendar from the dollar store and wrote in everything that we were eating so that I could easily look back and see what we had the previous month and be able to remember our favorites. I like having the dates on my calendar and I like seeing the whole month in advance. Sometimes I’m inspired to do more than a week at a time and monthly view allows me to plan ahead when inspiration strikes. Before I even start the menu planning I’ll write in what we have going on during the month so that I can plan a meal based on what is going that day/evening.
I found this cute calendar from Live Craft Eat. She had her menu calendars for sale on her Etsy shop BUT like I said, I found a cute and cheap calendar at the dollar store and that worked out perfectly. (Pinterest search ‘menu planning calendar’.)
The ‘Planner’ Menu Calendar: This is another option to buying just a straight calendar. If you are like me and like to write things down and plan out just about anything, then having a planner with a place to write out your menu is another great option. You can buy a planner just about anywhere. You can buy daily calendars, weekly calendars, monthly calendars, or a combination of all. If you have a monthly/daily calendar (like me) you could use the monthly page to plan out your menu or make a small space in the daily section to write it down. The planner that I am currently using (and loving) is from intheleafytreetops.com. You do not have to buy one!! I have been using planners for almost 10 years and so far the planners they offer are the best! They have a new page in the 2016 calendars that you can use to menu plan and have list boxes right next to the calendar! I was in heaven when I saw this!
The Dry Erase Menu: This has been a method that we have been using for y.e.a.r.s! It has been my favorite by far because The hubs can easily come in and write something down that he wants to eat and we don’t have loose papers everywhere or a ripping calendar from the amount of love it receives. You can buy dry erase boards at Walmart or Target and pick the size you want. We’ve had one that fits on the side of our fridge and we used command tabs to attach it. Then we had one slightly larger with a cork strip on the bottom to hang recipes that we collected from magazines and printed from the internet. I’d also try and collect cards for the means we were having that week and attache them there too. Now, since we are renting a place, I found a dry erase calendar from Home Depot that adheres to a smooth surface. Just like hanging vinyl.
There are also websites out there where you can subscribe to a service that does all the planning and list making for you and may even provide/send the ingredients to you.
Get creative with your menu planning!! What option looks the most appealing to you?! Share in the comments below.