How to Menu Plan in Less Than 15 Minutes

26
Sep
2016

How to Menu Plan in Less Than 15 Minutes

Since moving to the beach, I have taken great care to develop a system for meal planning. Being without a dinner plan when the closest market is 30 minutes away spells DISASTER!

I have always been a meal planner, but some weeks I drift from a real organized plan. Does that ever happen to you?

As I get back into my routine, I wanted to share some of my steps of how I menu plan for the week in less than 15 minutes.

Collect Recipes and Pin Them

Pinterest is a great invention if you really put it to use in good ways, like keeping a dinner recipe board of your family favorites. I just started this Family Favorites board and have found it so helpful when I sit down to plan my meals for the week. I can quickly see the photos of the meals and I write down what appeals to me at the moment! I also am a fan of using eMeals to collect meals that are easy and simple for my family. I can keep those in my notebook. See below.

Write It Down

No if’s, and’s, or but’s – put a meal title on each day that you need to have a dinner made. Don’t make general ideas. Write it down and go right to making the list of ingredients you need to make the meal. If I am in question about any ingredients, I will write them down and then can easily cross them off when I check my pantry stock. So write down your meal and ingredients at the same time.

Keep a Notebook

I will print out many of my recipes and keep them in a divided notebook for easy reference later. I also have a folder where I place all the recipes I need for that week so I am not searching for them later, wasting time, and adding to frustration. I keep the folder in the front of my notebook. I am a paper person, so even when I pin recipes, I still print it out. Call me old-fashioned, but it works for me!

Have a Weekly Menu Planner

This is a game changer. I have to write down my ideas and the days I intend to make meals, not so much for breakfast and lunch, but certainly for dinner. It is pivotal in how I carry out my intended plans. So, if you don’t have one, you can print this FREE Weekly Menu Planner out that I have for my readers. I use it and love it to keep things simple and easy.

Make Double

This is my favorite way to extend my meal planning and time. When I can I will double the recipe (or sometimes even triple it) and freeze a second batch of soup, stew, a crockpot recipe, or a casserole. It saves me time and also I will have a ready made list of dinner ideas set to quickly add to my weekly menu plan. I keep a running list of my freezer items so I can draw from it.

Rotate

If you find a weekly plan that worked well, save it and repeat! This is my genius plan – seriously! I can take those meal plans and put them “as-is” through another week maybe 5-7 weeks after the original plan. This saves me a ton of time and also circulates many of my family favorite recipes in our schedule.

What is your biggest tip for easy meal planning? I’d love to hear!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.



Help Susan Help These Children!
  • Sarah Merkle

    I have started using Build a Menu which supports orphans!

    I used to use emeals as well, but Build a Menu lets me pick & choose all meals (B,L & D) from any meal plan (paleo,THM, clean eating, etc) and even enter my own meals. I can also save my favorites & switch up portion size (like if we are having company for dinner one night, or if it’s just me for lunch).

    And did I mention they are Christians sporting orphans? ????

  • Robin Stewart Ha

    I have a bunch of “good list” meals that the family has approved. I just need to figure out how to get them organized and make a plan with some variety.
    Susan – Do you switch things up with the seasons?

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