Do you ever feel like you spend most of your time trying to bring order to the chaos? We’re in the habit of being busy in my house. Some of that’s good. We end up having some great experiences and spend lots of time learning new things. Sometimes it is just a bit overwhelming though, especially when several things collide and everything seems to happen at once.
Fortunately a solid routine can really help keep the chaos at bay. Part of my weekly routine includes creating a weekly menu plan so we know which end is up when dinner time rolls around. I’m much more equipped to handle any stress that comes my way if I’m well fed so keeping up with that weekly menu plan is a MUST for me.
This free printable weekly meal plan will help you stay on track of your menu planning and keep your week on track. There’s even a section for your shopping list so you can plan your weekly grocery trip at the same time. I like to recycle these weekly menus because it means less planning for me. I like to put them in a 6 week rotation and then change them out when I’m ready for some new meal ideas.
To download this menu plan click on the image above or download it here.
Menu Planning Tips
1. Set aside time to plan. A menu plan doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have any time to create it. Set aside a block of time each week to create a simple plan. Do this the same time each week so it doesn’t get forgotten. I find that Monday morning works best for me because I can do my grocery shopping right away and don’t have to deal with the weekend crowds.
2. Make your family help. I’m big on delegating. I have to be or nothing gets done. Assign each of your kids a day of the week to plan the menu. My kids love this and I love that I don’t have to think of one more thing. If your kids are old enough you could even put them in charge of cooking the meals that day.
3. Save your menu plans. You are busy. Why not make things easy on yourself? If you create a weekly menu plan that your family enjoyed save it and use it again later. Just be careful not to put the same meals into the rotation so often that you get sick of them. Once a month or two is a good rule of thumb for reusing menu plans.
4. Use what you have on hand. I don’t know about your pantry but mine hides things. At least once a week dig through your pantry and create a meal out of ingredients that you already have and need to use up. You’ll save money and limit waste.
5. Plan with your schedule in mind. It’s easy to start drooling over all the wonderful recipes you want to create while you are making your weekly menu plan. Be sure that you are being realistic with the time that you have though. Keep your family’s weekly schedule out while you plan your menu. On those nights when you need to be at 4 activities all at the same time, that brand new recipe that will take you an hour to prepare may not be your best choice. Plan for sandwiches or a crockpot meal on those crazy nights and save the more elaborate meals for when you have more time.
6. Keep your menu plan visible. I forget things easily. If my menu plan isn’t right in front of my face I’m going to forget that I even planned one at all. Stick your menu plan on your fridge to keep yourself on track. As an added bonus you’ll eliminate your kids asking you what’s for dinner a million times before breakfast.
7. Create daily themes. It can be hard to come up with meal ideas for every night of the week. Make it easy on yourself by creating daily themes. Monday night could be taco night, Tuesday night could be Italian night, etc. This makes it easy to pop in a few of your favorite meals without wasting a lot of energy thinking about it.
What great meal planning tips do you have?