WHY A MENU PLAN IS SO IMPORTANT
Do you eat every day? Then you probably need a menu plan for you and your family. If you cook at least three times a week it makes sense to know what to prepare beforehand. Otherwise, you will probably default to fast food or local pizza and that is less nutritional and more expensive than cooking yourself. And if you are organized with a menu plan you can prep and whip up scrumptious, easy and healthy meals for your family! Here’s why I menu plan…
I love the feeling of being efficient and in control of my day! And menu planning gives us just that. Here’s why I menu plan and you should too.
see the recipe for Perfectly Roasted Asparagus HERE.
I think one of the biggest reasons for me to menu plan is my health. If I did not have a menu plan I would probably default to food that was not as good for me and my family.
Setting up a weekly menu makes me aware of providing my family with variety and good whole food! Especially when it comes to fruit and veggies.
see Magic BBQ Rub HERE
When I don’t menu plan I might as well throw money out the car window going 80 mph down the interstate! Really! My freezer becomes a graveyard of baggies filled with unidentified pieces of meat! And in my pantry, I have five jumbo bottles of ketchup! And let’s not talk about the sour milk and half used bottles of dressing in my refrigerator!
Food is expensive so I want to be purposeful about what I buy and what I eat!
At StoneGable Bobby and I usually eat leftovers for lunch and maybe another dinner that week. Very economical!
see Baja Fish Tacos HERE
When I’m not meal planning I default to the same few recipes that I can make in my sleep… or to the diner for takeout or our local drive thru fast food restaurant.
When I meal plan I look for amazing new recipes that my family will love. No more boring dinners! Just lots of new-to-us culinary treats!
see Starbucks Lemon Loaf Cake HERE
One of the mantras I live by is IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN YOU PLAN TO FAIL! So true and so right when it comes to eating delicious, nutritious meals.
Meal planning has become one of the most enjoyable “chores” I do each week. I know what I’m having for dinner a week in advance or maybe two. I can make my grocery list while I meal plan and take a visual inventory of what I need to restock my pantry and refrigerator.
I know that on Thursday I’m making Nani’s Sauteed Chicken so I need to take the chicken thighs out of the freezer and put them into the refrigerator on Tuesday. Or I’m having company on Saturday so I will want to make as much of the dinner ahead of time so I can enjoy my family.
I can save time by chopping all the onions I’ll need at one time or start dinner prep after breakfast when I have more time.
Saving time is a big perk of menu planning!
see Scrumptious Clam Chowder HERE
Have you ever said at 5:00 pm “What will make for dinner”? Avoid the stress and angst of having to feed your family when you have no idea what you will make!
A bowl of cereal does not a dinner make!
When we know in advance it becomes so much easier! Dinner is not a surprise it is planned for. And because a meal plan is a PLAN, if things in our lives change our meal plans are not written in stone and we can adjust. But at least we have a plan and a purpose and a guide to make a great meal for our families.
see Roasted Organic Carrots With Thyme HERE
I hate food waste. Having a full belly is a great blessing! And wasting food is so sad. A meal plan helps us to use what we have. I’ve talked about my freezer being full of spoiled food. Sooooo sad!
Also, I have learned to use every bit of a chicken. We eat the meat and I save the carcass, wings, and bones for stock. I also use the celery tops in the stock as well! All leftover veggies make great FRITATAS. And extra bread can be croutons or homemade breadcrumbs.
Less waste often means saving money too!
IT’S A FUN HABIT
see Cherry Pie In Jars With Stars HERE
Menu planning can be a bit addictive. Once I started, a whole new world of food and ways to eat has opened up for me. I’ve always read cookbooks like romance novels but Pinterest has become quite an obsession. My FOODIE FUN Pinterest board has over 3,000 delicious pins! I hope you follow me there. You will find AMAZING recipe ideas!
ENCOURAGES NEW CULINARY SKILLS
see 10 Favorite Kitchen Gadgets HERE
As a life-long learner, nothing tickles me more than to learn a new skill or fact or something useful. And when we menu plan and have a meal to cook every day (or maybe not EVERY day) we learn so much!
I have found the wonderful world of YouTube cooks who are more than delighted, for free, to give me a lesson on how to cut an onion or the best ways to debone a fish. Really fun!
I have also found so many great videos that literally show me how to make a dish. All I have to do is follow along. And the more I practice the better I get and you will too!
EAT NEW TO YOU FOODS
see Perfect Roast Chicken HERE
There is a whole world of food in our local grocers or online. Food that you will probably love but have never tried. And I don’t know about you but when I leave this earth I would have liked to at least tried most of them!
Aren’t you curious about Aish Baldi or Paella or Marmite or Marzipan or Pho or Pierogi or Galaktoboureko? Maybe one of these will be your new foodie favorite!
Expand your culinary palate and enjoy new foods!
If you are not a planner you can have a weekly menu plan, new each week, by joining me every Monday when I share my menu plan for the week. It’s called On The Menu and features loads of brilliant recipes and delicious food!
You can find ready made menus in the “recipe +menus” tab in the bar under the StoneGable heading at the top of the page.
As I always say On The Menu… have a scrumptious week!
I really appreciate your helpful post today. I “sketchily” make a menu in my head.. but that doesn’t always work especially since I cook 5-6 nights! I do use leftovers for lunch for my husband & I..I don’t like wasting food either! Thanks for your tips! I will work at doing better menu planning.
I always enjoy your What’s On The Menu posts. I used to be a better planner but since the kids have moved away, not so much anymore. Your post has encouraged me to start again. I’m tired of struggling to figure out supper and wasting food. So thank you!
Yvonne, many thanks for the reminder. I, too, hate waste and sometimes those leftovers hide, if not intentional about using them. Will be trying some of your favorites.
Yvonne, I commend you for being the best kind of homemaker. You are an excellent example, encourager and teacher.
I have been following your blog for a long time. Especially I enjoy your Sunday read as inspiration to my spiritual side. I began menu planning years ago when my husband was in the paper industry with many strikes and layoffs. It saved us so much money. We were always blest with enough plus more to share. Because of choosing to eat a healthier way menu planning has become a life style. And when my sweet husband asks me out for dinner, I move my meal to the next day. Your words are a blessing to many. Thank you for the encouragement.
Once again, I feel like this post was written especially for me. I’ve been trying to sit down and plan out my meals before going grocery shopping. I know once I get the hang of it, I will save time and money and we will be eating better. Thanks for sharing your advice.
I always want to plan a weekly menu and forget until Friday 🙁 so today is Friday and your post has inspired me to plan my menus for next week!! I love your recipes and will definitely copy a few. Thanks for such interesting posts with incredible photos.
I have to admit, I’m an anti-planner when it comes to menus! I just can’t make myself do it. I say it’s because I love being spontaneous, but I think it’s because I’m a brat who doesn’t want to be told what to do, lol! I will say that I have an advantage that I’m not sure too many people have. I have a vivid mental inventory of every piece of food we have in this house, and that’s a lot, and I’m extremely good at not letting anything go to waste. Like I said, I don’t think most people are that advantage though. Still, I’ll admit that I don’t try new recipes often because I usually don’t have the specialty ingredients I need. I think I might try planning for ONE new meal a week and see how that goes! Thanks for the inspiration!
PS, I LOVE pierogies. I grew up in a very Polish part of Pennsylvania so they’re not new or different for me, just homey and nostalgic 🙂
I am a menu planner, always have been. I admire your ability to plan 7 days ahead, but right at this moment I know exactly what will be for dinner for the next 4 nights. It saves time and my sanity! I despise that “what should I make” feeling, so having a plan saves me a lot of anxiety. I usually look at grocery ads, see what’s on sale where, and then plan things out based on going to the store to get what’s needed. Great post!
I love this post. So many good reasons to create a menu!! I’ve been doing this for years and don’t know what I did before this! Buy food at the supermarket and hope I can make a few meals out of it!! But as you posted, there are so many other great reasons why every one should create a menu. Thanks!
This post is spot on.
Having found you several years ago, you On the Menu posts are what drew me in the follow you. Because of them I menu plan each week. I love it. It’s fun trying it come up with new menu combinations and trying new recipes. Most weeks I don’t follow the plan 100% but majority of the week I do. It’s nice to know I have a good plan for the week and don’t have to think much about after I make the plan each Sunday
Please don’t stop posting your Menus as I use many of yours (and I look back on past seasons as well) as inspiration
I usually plan four days ahead, making sure I have all ingredients on hand. I’ve adopted many of your recipes and follow foodie blogs that you have featured. I like to roast a chicken for a quick second meal or pop a roast in the crock pot in the morning for an easy meal at the end of the day, plus leftovers. We like to eat a salad before every dinner now. It helps keep us healthy and our weight under control.
You share so much with your readers. How do you come up with the ideas for a daily post? You’re quite amazing, Yvonne!
I enjoyed reading the reasons for a food plan, and really enjoyed you Pintrest board. What I would really like to know is your process for meal planning. Do you write it all out on paper? Do you have a sort of chart? Do you plan as you shop? I have been trying to start meal planning, and have lots of questions like these.
Such great questions, Trudy! I think I’ll do a blog post on that. Look for the answers in the next couple weeks. Thanks!
I hear Queen Elizabeth confers with her chef each day to plan the day’s meals based on the fresh ingredients procured for her – that kind of planning I could do really well! My theory is that in heaven Yvonne will cook and I will enjoy eating it – then we’ll both be happy! (Kinda kidding…)
This has been one of my favorite posts! Thank you for all of the great tips and reminders – it was both challenging and inspiring! I used to faithfully meal plan, but after my oldest son married and my youngest son will soon be heading to college, I’ve gotten out of the habit. Your post reminded me of the importance of it…..and the fun and creative outlet it can be!! Thank you…..
I found your Menu Plans recently and tried 2 of your recipes. Let me tell you they were excellent! My husband was really impressed! After 45 years of marriage that was awesome.
I had to laugh when I read this because my husband and I started Nutrisystem after Christmas and the extent of our meal planning is deciding which prepared meal we will eat 🙁 However, hopefully, we will reach our goal in a few months and can get back to eating real food. So this post has inspired me to start looking for healthy recipes! I want to break down the calorie count in each serving so I can manage my daily calorie intake and with some planning, I will know what portions I can have! After looking at your beautiful pictures, I am even more determined to be eating normal food again!