Rancho Burrito Farm

Life as it happens on a farm

Meal Planning Made Easy

November 11, 2013 Category: Cooking, Family, Planning Print This Post Print This Post

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I have tried several methods for planning our meals. Some have worked for longer periods of time than others.

Lately, I have used a system where I create a weekly menu for all meals and snacks. Then I create a corresponding grocery list. I now have several months worth of menus and grocery lists to pick from.

This is a picture of the menu planning sheet.

sample_menu


I type in the month number and week number at the top of the document. Then I save the Planner and name it M1W1 Weekly Menu Planner.doc I type in the meals that I am going to prepare for that week. Below the meal name, I type in the cookbook with page number to reference the recipe, if needed.


After creating the menu, I start working on the grocery list.

First, I created a grocery list that contains all of my pantry items. This includes paper goods, cleaning supplies, beauty supplies, dog food, and anything else that I need to keep on hand at all times. I saved this as my Basic Grocery List that I start with each time. This way, I don’t have to add these items every time.

This is a picture of the Weekly Grocery List.

sample_grocery_list


Next, I go through the menu and add each ingredient that is needed to my grocery list for that week. I save the grocery list to match the Menu. I name it M1W1 Grocery List. Now, when I am ready to use this menu, I have the matching grocery list already prepared.

Next, I take it to my kitchen, pantry, refrigerator, and freezer and check off the items that I already have on hand. Now, my list is ready to take to the grocery store.


I now have several months of menus and grocery lists already prepared and saved on my computer. I print out the menu and save in a notebook and when I want to use that menu, I print out the grocery list that matches it and I am ready to go.

I do have to make some changes occasionally. We might be having guests over or we have out of town doctor appointments that change the menu plan, but at least the basic menu is ready to go.

Just a note here, I have been trying out an iPad app called “Menu Planner”. It allows you to input your recipes and plan menus. It seems a little time consuming right now, but I am trying to give it a really good try. It is nice to have the recipe for the menu right there with the menu plan, but it is a lot of time to input the recipe with the ingredients. I have not used the grocery list portion of the app yet.

For the grocery list, I am trying out the “Grocery IQ” app. I have created my weekly grocery lists, named just like I do on the computer to match the menu plan. When I pull out that menu to use, I can pull up the matching grocery list in the app. This process is very easy to use and does not use a lot of time. This app allows you to check off the items as you purchase them in the grocery store and is organized by grocery store aisle.

The only thing I don’t like about it is when I have purchased all the items on the list, I want a quick way to reset the list to use it the next time. The app does not do that. You have to go back and un-check each item to put it back on the list. Not a huge deal, doesn’t take up too much time, just wish that was a little easier.

Post what works for you! I am always looking for ideas on how to make this easier.

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