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Meal Plans

February 21, 2012

Growing up, my mother almost always made meal plans each week. Come Sunday afternoon or evening, she would begin working on her plan for the coming week, asking my brother and I for suggestions for dishes we might want to eat. When I lived by myself right out of college, it was pretty hard to do this sort of planning since it would take me so long to eat up one meal and all its leftovers. However, I found that not having a plan for what to eat translated into more wasting of food – something I hate doing. But some days, I would look into my refrigerator and realize that those chicken breasts I had defrosted were expired and that the fruit in the basket on my kitchen table was… um… white and fuzzy when I turned it over.

Being married though, I use up food twice as fast. Also, I live about 20 minutes away from the nearest SuperWalmart and full-sized grocery store so it costs a bit of gas to get there. Since I’ve never really enjoyed roaming through the grocery aisles of Walmart and don’t have much patience weaving through all the carts and stocking pallet, I try to go there as little as I possibly can. I try to do my main grocery shopping there once every two weeks while using the off week to pick up any perishables such as fruit and milk that I may need.

The best method to getting away with only having to shop every other week is to have at least a basic meal plan. Some folks like to make elaborate plans down to what they will have for all three meals a day including side dishes. I basically only plan the main dish for supper. I always keep a variety of vegetables on hand, mostly frozen ones (with my current favorites being the Birdseye frozen stir fry veggies). In addition, I don’t plan which exact meal I am going to have on a given night since my husband’s and my schedules can be rather fluid and change often. Instead, I plan for about five or six main dishes for the upcoming two week period, look at the recipes to find out any special ingredients I need for them including the type and amount of meat I will need. These ingredients go on my shopping list and off I go.

For example, one of my last two week meal plans looked something like this. I also add any special desserts or goodies I may be planning to make for holidays or guests.

1. Homestead Chicken and Rice

2. Stuffed Green Peppers (recipe coming soon!)

3. Meatloaf

4. Enchiladas

5. Chicken Stirfry

When I get back from grocery shopping, my refrigerator is jam-packed, but I’m happy because I don’t have to set foot in the grocery store for fourteen more days!

***Here are a few free templates that I found if you are wanting to make a more detailed menu plan. Another option would be to print off a simple monthly calendar template and use that instead. Cheapest, easiest option? Use your day-planner!

Weekly Meal Planner 

Bi-Weekly Planner 


From → Organizing

  1. Pam Twedt permalink

    My sister got me started making menus after I got married. I haven’t always used them, but I love not having to think about what’s for supper at 5:00!

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