Menu Planning Ideas {WHW}

Menu Planning Ideas | RaisingArrows.netOne major aspect of homemaking is preparing meals.  It can be difficult to find your groove in menu planning.  I hopped around trying all sorts of things, and finally settled on a rather archaic method (aka pen and paper).  But, it works and that’s what is important.

menu plan on paper

When I am not shopping Once a Month, I write out a menu like you see above.  It’s a simple Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner menu for each day.  This is posted on my refrigerator and can be tweaked as needed (if I remember to write it in pencil – otherwise, it gets quite messy! ;) )

When I am Once a Month Shopping, I don’t make out a full month menu because I am notorious for changing my mind on what we are having due to unforeseen circumstances throughout the month.  Instead, I make a Master Meals List that looks like this:

Click to enlarge

I have everything on hand to make these meals, so I just pull from the list each day.

There are tons of resources on the internet for how to plan menus.  One quick search on Pinterest will have you pinning ideas for hours!  I personally like Sheri Graham’s Menu Planning ebook and I often use pre-made menu plans as a guide like the one on 100 Days of Real Food.  And of course, my own series on Once a Month Shopping has resources to help you plan as well.

What it comes down to is finding something that works for you and your family.  Your best bet is to try some of the resources you find on the internet and settle on the one that accommodates you the best.  And don’t be afraid to tweak!

For instance, say you like the concept of Once a Month Shopping and the menu plan I set up with it, but you can’t really swing paying for a month’s worth of groceries at a time.  Take the concept and make a 2 week list or even a 1 week list!

Or maybe you like to use another blogger’s menu plan as a guide for your own monthly plan, but you always find a few meals that just won’t work for your family.  Take a screen shot of the menu (use the PRT SC button at the top of your keyboard), put it in a paint program and change out those meals you don’t like so well.

And remember…pretty doesn’t make a method work.

I used to think I needed to make my menu look way more organized to be a good homemaker, but I’ve since grown up and realized you can have the best looking menu plan out there, but if you can’t follow it, you’ve wasted your time “looking” organized.

My menu plan when it is finished has notes all over it!  Things like “Grammy Coming” and “Put roast in crock pot!” are there to remind me of important events that will effect my menu.  I NEED these notes.  They keep me on track.  So, scribble away if need be!

And my dear mothers who are in a season of life that feels overwhelming, do not…I repeat…DO NOT try to create extravagant meal plans.  That time in your life is not now.  Make a menu that is easy.  In my Subscriber Freebies is a very simple Menu that is by no means healthy, but is by all means easy.  Do what you need to do to feed your family.  You won’t always be in crisis mode.  (If you’d like to access the Subscriber Freebies, all you need to do is put your email address in the box at the top right of this page, click on the link in the email that is sent to you, and the next time I send out a post, you’ll see the link and password to the Subscriber Freebie page at the bottom of that email. :) )

Now, a little bit about the link up in Q&A style…

Welcome Home link up | RaisingArrows.net

What kind of links should I add?

As I mentioned on Monday, I have moved it from Monday to Wednesday as a way to encourage you mid-week.  You do not have to link up something that matches what I write about, but you should link up only things that encourage homemakers because this is a “homemaking” link up.  However, if you have an old post that fits what I’ve written about, by all means link it up!

How many links can I add?

While I’m not going to be the link-up police, my readers would probably appreciate it if you only link 3 or less.  Remember, you can always come back next week and link 3 more!

Do I have to link back?

No, but I’d love it if you do!  There is a grab code below.  You can copy and paste the code in the box or if you’d rather, simply link back by saying something like:

This post is linked to Welcome Home Wednesdays on Raising Arrows.

But, once again, I am not the link-up police and I will not check your site to make sure you’ve linked back to me.  This isn’t about me.

When does the link-up go live?

Lord willing, every Wednesday at about 1am Eastern Time, the post with the link up should be posted.  But don’t hold me to this!

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask and I’ll get back with you as soon as I can.

Here’s the button code:

Welcome Home Wednesdays
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.raisingarrows.net" title="Welcome Home Wednesdays"><img src="http://www.raisingarrows.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Welcome-Home-Button3.jpg" alt="Welcome Home Wednesdays" style="border:none;" /></a></div>



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9 thoughts on “Menu Planning Ideas {WHW}

  1. Thanks for hosting the link-up. This is our first time here and you have a lovely site. I am planning to do a menu/food planning post and I just wish I had it ready now so I could be on topic. :)
    Blessings,
    Gloria @ resourcefulgals.blogspot.com

  2. Thank you so much for this post! I’m new to your blog and found your simple meal plan very helpful as we are going through a busy season. Thanks again and blessings! I’m going to try your once a month meal planning too, it seems doable. :)

  3. I just started getting back into menu planning after getting discouraged with it last year. I like your point about keeping a menu simple and easy. I think that is a big reason why I was discouraged and couldn’t keep up with my meal plan last year. I linked up my meal plan for this week and added your link to my party page. Thanks for hosting!

  4. Menu planning and cooking are probably the two areas that suffer the most when I am pregnant. Especially towards the end, when even touching food makes me feel even larger than I already am! Ha! The only reason I do not panic is because I know it will all come together again, once the new baby is here and we find our new normal. When I do menu plan, I am a pen and paper girl, too :).

    • Toward the end of this pregnancy, I went to a VERY simplified menu and even purchased items I NEVER purchase (like canned spaghetti sauce! lol) It made life so much easier!

  5. We have found in our family that menu planning saves us a LOT of money on our grocery budget. With 5 kids, we usually still find ourselves at HEB every day for something, but with 7 people, we spend less than $600 a month on food. We used to spend a lot more before we started using a menu. I sure do wish we could do an entire month, but the truth is, we just don’t have enough room in our refrigerator to store that much! LOL