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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Confession: I Haven't Been Menu Planning

I've talked often about menu planning, but I've also admitted that it goes in cycles with me - and lately, I've completely gotten away from it. I can't remember the last time I planned my menu.

Things have been okay anyway, but Moneywise Moms mentioned yesterday that participating in a weekly menu planning meme helps her stay on track, and her post reminded me of the many benefits of menu planning: saving money, reducing stress, more variety, less waste, and more.

So, I'm going back to planning out my menu, but with a focus on easy, fast dinners. Side note: I only plan dinners, since breakfast is usually cereal, toast or oatmeal, and lunch is usually leftovers or a quick sandwich.

The weather here has been a bit weird - it got warm for a while, and then this week it's been cool again. It even rained a couple of times, which is downright bizarre. But the farmer's markets should be looking good, so I can get some fresh, in-season produce because I also want to make our meals with less meat. I've been reading Mark Bittman's blog, and that along with his article in a recent issue of Cooking Light has me convinced that I should at least try to downsize the amount of meat in our diet. There's no better time for such an experiment than when fresh produce is bountiful and delicious.



  • At 5/20/10, 12:37 PM, Blogger Lauren said…

    I'm not a hard and fast menu planner, but one thing I do that's helped me is to plan one meal ahead. Since I also only plan dinners, I'll decide what we're eating for dinner the night before I have to make it. That helps me not get overwhlemed with long-term planning, avoid the 5:30 what-are-we-going-to-eat panic, and it's a short enough time-frame so I can plan around what needs to be used up. On a really good night, I may even have time to prep a couple things or load up my crockpot so I just have to turn it on in the morning.

  • At 5/20/10, 1:30 PM, Blogger Camille said…

    I've been in the "winging it" mode lately with dinner. I skipped planning for a few weeks. I think sometimes we just need a break from the organization. :-)

    I'm reading Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" -- same concept of less meat. I saw a sample menu of his either in a book or on-line and was surprised by it. I guess we are eating less meat than I thought!

  • At 5/20/10, 3:43 PM, Anonymous CJ said…

    Gosh where do you live that it hardly ever rains? I need to come there! It's rained here 9 out of the past 11 days.

  • At 5/20/10, 3:59 PM, Blogger Gina @ MoneywiseMoms said…

    You're right to focus on fast & easy. Remember that even planning "McDonalds night" for a night you know will be nuts is part of having a plan. It still helps you avoid overspending on the other nights. I have weeks where I know I can't cook, so I plan for fish sticks or whatever. It still helps my stress level to know what's for dinner.


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