Thursday, April 29, 2010

Menu Planning Woes

A few years ago, I found Organized Home.  It’s an awesome site devoted to helping you organize all aspects of your home.  One of the suggestions I put into place was weekly (or monthly) menu planning

I’m sure many of you know how nice it is to know exactly what is on the menu for the evening and to know that you actually have the ingredients to make it!  No last minute grocery stops (well, not too many, anyway) or, even worse, fast food stops (unless you really, really want to).

I also have a pre-printed grocery list.  I’m not sure where I first saw this idea, but I have a list of the things I buy regularly that is posted each week on the inside of a cabinet.  When we need something, we mark it off.  I think this idea is pure genius (though my mom did snort at it the first time she saw it – but what does she know? I remember her regularly calling me on her way home from work to see if we needed milk…).

Every week (or month), I sit down with my menu plan and my pre-printed grocery list and I figure out what we’re going to eat and what I need to make it.
I then make my husband go through our cupboards to make sure we actually need everything on the list (I hate buying things we already have!).

Here’s what my menu plan generally looks like by the time I’m done:
Nice and clean, right?

I’ve gone back and forth between weekly and monthly menu planning over the years and it’s worked really well for us.  Recently, though, this has become a much avoided chore.  The reason? Picky eaters (read: kids!).

I have two daughters that are various levels of picky and, of course, only rarely do they actually like the same thing (chicken nuggets anyone?).  I’ve been realizing lately that their eating habits have limited our menu to 5 or 6 things, each of which one of them probably doesn’t like anyway.  It’s made meal planning a real pain.
We’re coming up with some strategies to address this issue, but I’m wondering what others do, so chime in:
  • Do you meal plan?  If so, what do you do?
  • Do you have picky eaters (or are you a picky eater yourself)?  If so, how do you handle that?

I'm linking up to:



    I meal plan based on what is on sale at the grocery store.

    I cut the crusts off the sandwich.
    Fruit salad doesn't involve mixed fruit.
    Burgers at Red Robin and ordered PLAIN.
    Yep, that's me AND the kids.

  2. Hi Diane, I'm so glad I found your lovely blog. I also have picky kids, though they are getting less picky as they get older. I have a list of 21 meals that the whole family will eat and I rotate it on a regular basis. I also do like you and use a pre printed grocery list...I love it!

  3. I know I'm a little late to the party, but I found your blog & started reading the older posts &found this one.
    I do try & menu plan but it always gets changed. I've found & it's great. I followed her menus the first 2 months, but now I kinda go on my own. I'll sit down with the laptop & cookbooks, find some recipes & make my lists. I try to have enough dinners to cover 15-20 nights. There's always leftovers or we'll go out to eat some. I make my lists & do most of the cooking for the month in one or two days. It's a pain on those days, but for the rest of hte month when I'm not cooking it's great.


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